The Excellent is the Enemy of the Good: The ECtHR as a Protector of Human Rights rather than the Guardian of Democracy

In the early days of the ECHR, the European Court of Human Rights was not envisioned as a court whose aim is to prevent day-to-day human rights violations. Many of the founders of the ECHR viewed the Court as an institution aimed to prevent scenarios similar to the Weimar collapse. In my paper I first aim to excavate the vision of the ECtHR as a tool for achieving this goal. Second, I compare between the role of the European public in defending the ECHR as it was envisioned by the founders of the Convention, and its role as currently envisioned in ECtHR’s judgments. Finally, I argue that the change in the way the public's role has been envisioned is key for understanding major developments in the adjudication of the ECtHR.