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Slovenian Judge Marko Bošnjak Elected President of the European Court of Human Rights

Slovenian judge Marko Bošnjak has been elected as the new president of the European Court of Human Rights, a historic first for both Slovenia and the newer democracies of Central and Eastern Europe

Marko Bošnjak, a respected judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), has been elected as the court’s next president, marking a historic first for Slovenia and Central and Eastern European democracies.

Elected by his peers on May 13, Bošnjak is set to succeed Ireland’s Siofra O’Leary on July 1, becoming the first leader from the region’s newer democracies to hold this prestigious position. His term at the ECHR will conclude in May next year, capping off a distinguished nine-year tenure.

Bošnjak expressed his commitment to enhancing the court’s role as a staunch defender of human rights across Europe. “During my term, I will strive to ensure that the court remains an effective protector of human rights, internally coherent and strong, and externally convincing in its mission,” he stated.

This appointment also represents a significant milestone, highlighting the influence smaller nations can wield on the European stage. “This election is proof that there are no small or big countries in Europe, and that even those from smaller countries can significantly impact European affairs,” Bošnjak added.

Prior to his election as president, Bošnjak had served as a judge at the ECHR since 2016, became president of the court’s first section in 2021, and was appointed as one of the vice-presidents in 2022. His career also includes roles as a criminal law professor and a partner at the Čeferin Law Firm, where UEFA’s current chief, Aleksander Čeferin, once worked.

ECHR judges, who are elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, serve a single nine-year term, emphasizing the prestige and responsibility entrusted to Bošnjak in this role.

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