Implementation and Impact of Strasbourg Court Rulings: The Case of Religious Minorities and Their Convention Freedoms

Dia Anagnostou

in eds. Jeroen Temperman, T. Jeremy Gunn and Malcolm D. Evans, The European Court of Human Rights and the Freedom of Religion or Belief: The 25 Years since Kokkinakis, Brill, 2019, pp. 388-418

In the developing case law of the European Court of Human Rights (‘the Court’, or ECtHR) related to religious freedom over the past twenty-five years, the rights of adherents of minority religions occupy a prominent place. While legal scholars have explored the evolving human rights jurisprudence in this area, we still know far less as to whether national authorities actually redress the substantial number of rights violations that the Court has found in relation to religious minorities. In filling this gap, this chapter explores the measures and reforms that states undertake in complying with the ECtHR judgments related to the rights of religious minorities in five countries: Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia and Romania. Do state authorities in these countries implement the relevant ECtHR judgments that find national law and practice to be at odds with human rights principles, and do the adopted measures enhance the religious freedom of minorities? Do they give full effect to the judgments, or do they only partially or superficially do so? Besides exploring the general measures that these national authorities implement, this study also comparatively analyses the factors that account for variations in state compliance with ECtHR judgments related to the religious freedom of minorities. The chapter argues that implementation of ECtHR rulings to redress violations of religious freedom can expand the rights of religious minorities to practice their faith, only under the condition that there is sufficient support by a “domestic compliance coalition” that can pressure the government to undertake legal and policy reform in this area.

Available here.