Can an Irish homosexual be subjected to the hammer of a “foreign” (Russian) judge who has made a career in a homophobic regime? – Can a French journalist be subjected to a “foreign” (Turkish) judge who has risen through the ranks of the judiciary in an authoritarian state that persecutes its own journalists? – Can a Muslim asylum-seeker in Germany be subjected to a “foreign” (Polish or Hungarian) judge from a country whose government is openly Islamophobic? – In these constellations the prohibition of the “foreign judge” acquires some justification when it comes to assess the impartiality of a supra-national tribunal such as the European Court of Human Rights. In these cases, Ireland, France and Germany may unfairly claim legal victory thanks to “foreign judges” who would have been disqualified as “bought judges” in their own national jurisdictions. In these configurations, citizens of democratic countries must endure the summary final sentence of single “foreign judges” presenting a proximity with authoritarian regimes, a situation which challenges all the benefits of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
On 25 November 2018 the Swiss people bravely rejected a so-called “popular initiative” aimed at modifying the federal constitution that was proposed by the populist right wing party Democratic Union of the Centre (UDC in French and SVP in German) under the slogan “Swiss law instead of foreign judges (initiative for self-determination)”. This initiative was part of UDC’s long-standing campaign – previously led by a billionaire – to market xenophobic populism in Switzerland. It had, however, the merit of thematizing not only the problem of “foreign” judges, but also and above all that of “bought” magistrates. This problem concerns not only Swiss citizens, but the inhabitants of all the European countries that are parties to the European Convention on Human Rights. […]
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SOMMAIRE: Résumé en anglais – English summary. – 1. Nouvelle légitimité pour la Convention européenne des droits de l’Homme. – 1.1. Le peuple suisse plébiscite les juges “étrangers”. – 1.2. Le problème du juge “acheté” par les pouvoirs politiques. – 1.3. Le protocole 14 CEDH : le prix du succès qui anéantira celui-ci ? – 2. Un pouvoir illimité du juge unique “étranger acheté” pour dénier justice ? – 2.1. L’Europe des juges, désunie dans la diversité – 2.2. Le marteau solitaire de la conviction intime. – 2.3. La régression nationale populiste et le choc des juridictions. – 3. Conclusions : pétition pour une réforme urgente du Protocole 14 CEDH