Estonia – a European Rechtsstaat?!
Estonia is a European Rechtsstaat, however, attached to this generally true statement there are still a few „buts” that require more detailed explanations. The principle of Rechtsstaat or the rule of law is to protect a person from the arbitrary exercise of public authority. It is of great importance that all legislation was in accordance with the rule of law, that all three powers of the state – the legislative, the executive and the judicial power – respected the Constitution. At the same time it may happen that the laws and court decisions alone are not enough, that from legal point of view everything seems to be all right, but in reality… Therefore the European Court of Human Rights in its case law has constantly upheld the position that the purpose of the European Convention on Human Rights is not to ensure theoretical or illusory rights but the rights that are effective and that can be exercised in practice.
When Estonia is looking for new aims and its own style in Europe, it could make itself an example of a country that protects the human rights and rule of law and is a model for Europe. Protection of human rights is expensive, but it should not be a luxury; protection should be elementary. Estonia should strive higher that the minimum standards, so that we could export the way of thinking based on rule of law and protection of fundamental rights to the rest of Europe and the world. It is especially important, taking into account the geopolitical location of Estonia and the fact that its neighbours are on different levels of development in terms of the protection of human rights.