The Slovenia Times

Slovenian to head European Court of Human Rights

Marko Bošnjak, Slovenian judge at the European Court of Human Rights. Photo: Bor Slana/STA

Marko Bošnjak, the Slovenian judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), has been elected the court's president in what he sees as an expression of trust by his colleagues and a recognition to Slovenia.

"During my term, I will try to do everything in my power to ensure that the court further consolidates its position as an effective protector of human rights in Europe, that it is internally coherent and strong, and externally convincing in its mission," Bošnjak said.

Elected by fellow judges on the court on 13 May, Bošnjak will be the first ECHR president from what are dubbed new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe, or from any country that has joined the Council of Europe since 1963. He is also the first Slovenian to head an international court.

He will take over from Siofra O'Leary from Ireland, who has been in charge of the court since 1 November 2022. He will take office on 1 July and his nine-year term at the ECHR will end in May next year.

Bošnjak stressed that this is the highest office in the European human rights protection system. This also carries a great responsibility, he said.

"This election is also proof that there are no small and big in Europe, and that even those from smaller countries with relatively limited economic and political power can have a significant impact on the course of matters in Europe," he added.

Bošnjak has been an ECHR judge since 2016. He was elected president of the first section of the court in 2021 and became one of the court's two vice-presidents in 2022.

Prior to taking up his judicial duties in Strasbourg, he was, among other things, a professor of criminal law and a lawyer and partner at the Čeferin Law Firm, which the current UEFA boss Aleksander Čeferin used to work at. Bošnjak has also served as a member of the nomination committee at Thomson Reuters since 2019.

ECHR judges are elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from a list on which each country nominates three candidates. They are granted nine-year terms without the possibility of reappointment.


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