Building trust in democratic institutions: the case of the Former Yugoslavia’s countries

The guarantee of the ‘political clause’ enshrined in Art. 3, Prot. 1 is of most relevance for the endurance of the ECHR’s system of protection of human rights as well as for the maintenance of trust-based relationships between democratic institutions and citizens. The implementation of this “democratic argument” must nevertheless come to terms with national electoral specificities and peculiar democratic visions as resulting from the historical-political development of each domestic legal system: this aids explaining the Court’s patent favour for judicial deference in combination with a flexible approach in its case-law, so as not to neglect States’ appreciation in a field where they still have remarkable sovereignty. Such considerations are particularly significant in the case of the Former Yugoslavia’s countries, where the unsolved challenges presented by the ethnic pluralism combine with the equally delicate issue of the definitive accomplishment of the principle of democracy.