By Marco Respinti for IFAM News
On February 25, I asked in an article whether the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) depends on George Soros. The article relied on a devastating report by the European Center for Law & Justice (ECLJ) in Strasbourg entitled Les ONG et les juges de la CEDH, 2009-2019 [“NGOs and the Judges of the ECHR, 2009 – 2019” — available also in English and Spanish]. After two months, the ECHR has, by its actions, confirmed and strengthened the case of Soros’s influence on the Court. How, and why, are the subects of a new ECLJ exposé by its Director, Grégor Puppinck, who is also a member of the Committee of Experts on the Reform of the ECHR. He is also the co-author of the February report. Before covering the new report, however, here is some background.
The ECLJ’s February Findings
The ECLJ is an international organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights and religious freedom throughout the world. ECLJ has held special Consultative Status before the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 2007.
After a meticulous six-month investigation regarding the decade between 2009-2019, it produced the above-mentioned report, concluding that out of the 100 permanent judges of the Court, 22—almost a quarter of the assembly—have links to seven particular NGOs. In fact, before becoming judges on the Court, these individuals were collaborators and sometimes even managers of the NGOs in question. The organizations, in alphabetical order, to which the judges are tied are as follow: A.I.R.E. Centre (Center for Individual Rights in Europe); Amnesty International; the International Commission of Jurists; the Helsinki committees and foundations network; Human Rights Watch; Interights (International Center for the Judicial Protection of Human Rights); and the Open Society Foundations network with its various branches, in particular the Open Society Justice Initiative.
Of those 22 judges, 12 have had direct relationships with Open Society, making it the single NGO in the list to which the most judges are connected (a fact attested in the judges’ own biographies as given on the website of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe). What is more, the six other NGOs identified in the report are financed by Open Society.
The report also found that 18 of the 22 judges had heard cases on the court presented or supported by Open Society. In the ten years taken into consideration, the report identified 88 cases that it defined as “problematic” in this regard. Additionally, in many more cases there were also links between the judges and the NGOs, though indirect ones and therefore not identifiable by the “problematic” standard adopted in the report.
In sum, the February report clearly establishes that what is at stake here in nothing less than the independence of the Court and the transparency of its work: important questions for the body that arbitrates the matter of human rights in Europe! The ultimate question that comes into view is whhether the Court is swayed by Open Society—i.e. billionaire George Soros’ network of organizations that propagates and finances abortion propoganda and transgender ideology throughout the world.
“The Most Controversial Judge”
So, two months after the February report, the ECHR has acted so as to only confirm the concerns contained therein: by electing a man Dr. Puppinck calls “the most controversial judge”—Bulgarian Yonko Grozev—to the important post of “section president.”. Why does Puppinck find Grozev “most controversial?” He writes:
“Grozev has spent his entire career as a lawyer and activist in NGOs close to George Soros or financed by him, until he became one of the world leaders of the Open Society branch specialising in the use of judicial institutions for political purposes (the Open Society Justice Initiative). He became known, inter alia, as a lawyer for a group of punk women (Pussy Riot) who committed a sacrilegious act in Moscow Cathedral.”
To be clear, we at iFamNews are strongly convinced that everyone has he right to a defense attorney. (This is, in fact, one of the most luminous legacies given to the world civilization by the Middle Ages, including the Inquisition, as the Italian-American specialist John Tedeschi clearly highlights in his The Prosecution of Heresy: Collected Studies on the Inquisition in Early Modern Italy.) And we know all too well that only despotisms and totalitarianisms deny this important right of a competent legal defense. Nevertheless, these facts about Grozev do provoke our journalistic curiosity.
As Dr. Puppincnk further details, “Already in 2014, the modalities of [Grozev’s] nomination in Strasbourg had been challenged, as three members of the Bulgarian selection committee were his NGO fellows. A complaint to the Council of Europe by a local organisation about the irregularity of the selection procedure was dismissed.” And the irregularities run deeper: Mr. Grozev, says Puppinck, was an “activist”, with “no experience as a magistrate (like the majority of the judges in Strasbourg),” when he was appointed as a judge on the ECHR. Then, “[s]hortly after his election, his new colleagues ruled in his favour in the Pussy Riot case and ordered Russia to pay him, as is customary, substantial compensation.”
Advancing Even Higher
Once Mr. Grozev had been nominated as a judge, Puppinck explains, several cases came up “which he had brought before the ECHR himself as a lawyer, or which had been brought by his former NGOs.” Puppinck says that while in 9 such cases Grozev recused himself, “he still participated in the judgment of at least 10 other cases brought or supported by NGOs which he himself had founded or directed until recently.” Puppinck provides a listing of these cases. Puppinck goes on, “such conduct constitutes a serious and repeated breach of a judge’s basic ethical obligations” and “in any state governed by the rule of law, the [subject] of such breaches would be liable to severe disciplinary sanctions.” The Bulgarian Ministry of Justice even publicly raised the possibility of Mr. Grozev’s dismissal, though it left the matter to the ECHR itself to decide.
Now, though, Grozev has advanced even higher in the ECHR, as he “will head one of the five sections of the Court, will exercise general management powers within the Court, and will systematically sit in the most important cases.” He will also have power within his section to decide “alone, on a case-by-case basis, whether to invite, allow or refuse the intervention of NGOs in cases.” Not a bad gig, if you can get it…
Marco Respinti is the Editor-in-Chief of International Family News. He is an Italian professional journalist, essayist, translator, and lecturer. He has contributed and contributes to several journals and magazines both in print and online, both in Italy and abroad. Author of books, he has translated and/or edited works by, among others, Edmund Burke, Charles Dickens, T.S. Eliot, Russell Kirk, J.R.R. Tolkien, Régine Pernoud and Gustave Thibon. A Senior fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal, a non-partisan, non-profit U.S. educational organization based in Mecosta, Michigan, he is also a founding member as well as Board member of the Center for European Renewal, a non-profit, non-partisan pan-European educational organization based in The Hague, The Netherlands. He serves also as Director-in-Charge of the academic publication The Journal of CESNUR and Bitter Winter: A Magazine on Religious Liberty and Human Rights in China.