7 months ago


Introduction Page 9

Introduction Page 9 (CPT) and other relevant standards established within the framework of the Council of Europe. Therefore, it shall become a useful tool in the hands of police and other state authorities in order to prevent and fight police misconduct or impunity and uphold the human rights. Christos Giakoumopoulos Director of Human Rights Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law Council of Europe

The European Convention on Human Rights and Policing Page 10 Chapter 1 Policing and the European Convention on Human Rights The role of the police in protecting the liberties of individuals in the community involves particular challenges. In upholding the rule of law in a democratic society, those entrusted with the task of policing society must themselves be subject to accountability before the law. Police officers are in a real sense the day-to-day defenders of human rights, but in order to discharge that task, they often have to interfere with the rights of those mindful to harm the rights of others. The problem of achieving an appropriate balance between police powers and individual liberty is not a new one. Often it is expressed in terms of accountability. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? was the question posed in ancient times. Today, in the context of liberal democracies, the answer to this age-old problem is normally expressed in terms of accountability to the law; yet in Europe, compliance is expected not only with domestic arrangements but also with European standards, and in particular with the European Convention on Human Rights. European citizens – and those living within the borders of European States – expect a great deal from their police services, but also rightly demand that the discharge of policing responsibilities is in accordance with the law, and furthermore, that it respects certain fundamental principles reflecting the nature of a democratic society. This ‘law’ is not only domestic law, but increasingly also European law which itself expresses certain ‘values’ on matters such as the importance of democratic protest, respect for the private lives of individuals, and protection against the arbitrary application of police authority.