The European Court of Human Rights has seen a 20 percent rise in the number of requests to have cases heard. Eight thousand more were registered last year than in 2007. Statistics just made public contrast this with a previous six percent rise.
The caseload explosion is largely down to complaints brought against Georgia by the people of South Ossetia or by Russian soldiers, in connection with the armed conflict over the separatist region. This does not dislodge from first place, however, Russia itself, in terms of the biggest number of complaints against any country. It, next place Turkey, Romania and Ukraine, when taken together account for 57 percent of all the complaints. The Russian parliament has been blocking a reform of the court which would allow it to consider more cases. The Kremlin has persistently denied accusations by critics that it has a standing order for its supporters in the Duma to hold the reform back. The legislation could take effect for the other 46 Council of Europe states by the end of this year.