60 years of the Court
The strength of the European system of human rights protection undoubtedly lies in the fact that the Convention's drafters set up a court, the ECHR, to ensure the observance of their engagements.
For sixty years now it has been overseeing compliance with human rights, to ensure that this protection serves the cause of justice and peace, in line with the preambule to the Convention.
Through its case-law, the Court has played a major role in improving the protection of human rights in Europe.
70 years of the European Convention on Human Rights
The European Convention on Human Rights, signed in Rome on 4 November 1950, was the first instrument to crystallise and give binding effect to the rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It lays down absolute rights which can never be breached by the States, such as the right to life or the prohibition of torture, and it protects certain rights and freedoms which can only be restricted by law when necessary in a democratic society, for example the right to liberty and security or the right to respect for private and family life.
A number of rights have been added to the initial text with the adoption of additional protocols, concerning in particular the abolition of the death penalty, the protection of property, the right to free elections or freedom of movement.