Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Monday, 21 February 2011

The Record: Europe

19 February edition
Lucy Thomas
Producer

The European Court of Human Rights

The Record Europe has been to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, the institution at the centre of a storm in British politics about prisoner voting rights.

Is it a model for the rest of the world, or an institution intent on expanding its reach into the territory of national parliaments and courts?

Court President Jean-Costa

In his first broadcast interview since the furore, the court's most senior judge, Jean-Paul Costa talks to Shirin Wheeler.

In Britain some have called for the UK to ignore the rulings of the court and leave the Convention on Human Rights after the Court ruled the British blanket ban violated the convention.

But Jean Paul Costa says that would be a disaster.

Keeping an eye on court rulings

"The only country which denounced the convention actually was Greece in 1967 at the time of dictatorship of the Colonels....I cannot imagine even if I can understand some irritation, that UK which is a great country - I admire the UK - could be in the same situation as the Colonels in 1967".

Shirin also speaks to two ambassadors to the Council of Europe about their role in reform of the court, and deciding whether countries' responses to its rulings are adequate.

She is joined by Urszula Gacek from Poland and Daryal Batibay from Turkey.

Finally, a debate is held to discuss where the powers of the court should begin and end.

Analysing the powers of the ECHR

The programme hears from:

Martin Callanan, who leads the British conservatives

Michael O'Boyle, Deputy Registrar of the ECHR

Sophie In't Veld, Dutch liberal MEP

The Record: Europe examines the key moments in the political week in Brussels and Strasbourg and focuses on the work of the European Parliament and European Commission.

It is broadcast on BBC Parliament on Saturdays at 2300 GMT, Sundays at 1700 GMT and Mondays at 1000 GMT, on BBC World on Saturdays and Sundays at 0630 CET and on the BBC News channel on Sundays at 0530 GMT and Mondays at 0330 GMT.

Follow the programme on Facebook.

You can also watch full coverage of the plenary sessions of the European Parliament and selected committee hearings at BBC Democracy Live.



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