Compliance with judgments of the European Court of Human Rights: analysing South Caucasus states on a spectrum of democratization

Remezaite, Ramute (2021) Compliance with judgments of the European Court of Human Rights: analysing South Caucasus states on a spectrum of democratization. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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This thesis explores compliance with judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the three South Caucasus states: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. It critically assesses their compliance behaviour as states on a spectrum of democratisation varying from democratising to increasingly authoritarian tendencies, raising concerns about their ability and/or willingness to abide by the Council of Europe (CoE) standards, in the context of the wider ‘implementation crisis’ in Europe. I study their domestic contexts to identify and understand the various factors and motivations that define their complex compliance behaviour with the aim of exploring optimal solutions to the deepening compliance challenges in the CoE. The research finds that two decades after their accession, the three states continue to feature multiple complex political, legal and social issues, largely stemming from the Soviet legacy, that affect their capacity or willingness to ensure full, timely and effective compliance with ECtHR judgments. As a result, the research relies on the concept of partial compliance as a very likely form of compliance in the South Caucasus states, and one that needs to be revived both in the CoE context and academia to understand and explain compliance behaviour in the democratising states. It puts particular focus on ‘contested’ compliance as a new form of compliance behaviour that has emerged in the growing number of cases of states’ acting in ‘bad faith’ in light of their international human rights obligations. Finally, my research explores the wider impact that ECtHR judgments have beyond formal compliance and despite the likelihood of partial compliance.

The originality of the research lies in the in-depth analysis of the compliance performance in the three South Caucasus states on a spectrum of democratisation, which feature very little in compliance literature. The focus on the case-level compliance in the states’ particular domestic contexts contributes to still limited literature as to how and why such states implement ECtHR judgments, particularly Armenia and Azerbaijan. Alongside desk research, I adduce empirical evidence obtained through semi-structured interviews to critically assess the states’ compliance behaviour and understand their motivations and incentives. The thesis assesses the relevance and applicability of the prevailing compliance theories, constructivism and rational choice, and proposes to revive the concept of partial compliance, in its various forms. The study of the broader impact of judgments suggests expanding the existing impact typologies by focusing on the moral value of ECtHR judgments and the individual victim-oriented approach.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
B. > Theses
Item ID: 36624
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2022 14:13
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:00

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