Criticism of the ECHR because of the ruling in favor of climate seniors – News

  • With its climate protection ruling against Switzerland, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has inadmissibly overstretched the law.
  • This is the opinion of the majority of the Legal Affairs Commission of the Council of States.

The Commission requests the Council to make a statement to this effect. Switzerland sees no reason to continue to follow the ruling. The judgment raises numerous important institutional and state policy questions.

The Legal Commission of the Council of States (RK-S) asked its council to accept the declaration by a vote of 10 to 3. This was decided at a special meeting on the verdict at the beginning of April and after hearing from experts, President Daniel Jositsch (SP/ZH) told the media in Bern.

The Council of States will decide on the acceptance of the declaration in the summer session. Three committee representatives from the SP and the Greens spoke out against the declaration.

Legal development “overused”

According to the will of the Commission majority, the Council of States should express its concern about the actions of the Court of Human Rights (ECHR). “We recognize the value of the European Court of Human Rights, but we want to express our lack of understanding,” explained Jositsch.

The declaration is entitled “Effective protection of fundamental rights through international courts instead of judicial activism”. It is said that the ruling in the case of the Swiss Climate Senior Women Association exceeds the limits of dynamic interpretation. The ECHR “overstretched” the limits of permissible legal developments.

With its actions, the ECHR is exposing itself to accusations of “inadmissible and inappropriate judicial activism,” it goes on to say. The Court accepts that not only the states of the Council of Europe, but also the domestic actors of the member states question the legitimacy of the ECtHR. This could weaken the effective protection of human rights.

Requirements of the judgment have been met

In the declaration it adopted, the majority of the Commission called on the ECHR to “regain increased importance” to state sovereignty and the principle of consensus under international law. The judges in Strasbourg must respect the democratic processes of the contracting states.

The RK-S also has expectations of the Federal Council. According to the declaration, he should inform the Council of Europe that Switzerland is already doing a lot to achieve its climate goals, as Jositsch said. The declaration recalls the Climate Protection Act and the revised CO₂ Act passed in the spring.


Daniel Jositsch, President of the Legal Affairs Commission of the Council of States, on the Commission statement on the ECtHR ruling.

KEYSTONE / Alessandro della Valle

The Paris climate agreement does not commit to national greenhouse gas budgets, the statement says. Ultimately, such a budget can be derived from defined average goals for Switzerland. Switzerland has so far complied with its international, binding obligations.

The Federal Council should therefore inform the responsible bodies of the Council of Europe that Switzerland sees no reason to continue to comply with the judgment. Because with its previous and ongoing climate policy efforts, it meets the human rights requirements of the ruling.

At the beginning of April, in response to a complaint from the Climate Senior Women’s Association, the ECHR found that Switzerland had violated the Human Rights Convention. The ECHR ruled that it had failed to fulfill its climate protection responsibilities.

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