The European Convention on Human Rights entered into force with the final ratification by Luxembourg. According to the records, the ceremony was brief and simple. Acting Secretary General Anthony Lincoln, who had taken over following the death of the first Secretary General Jacques Camille Paris, called the Convention an: “innovation (that) has been brought about in a Europe whose social and political genius has remained creative, in spite of the wounds of war and the bitterness of recent memories.”
And innovative it was. It was the first of its kind, and its original mechanism reflected the complexities of a system that had never existed before. Its two-tier structure incorporated a Commission of Human Rights which filtered cases before passing them on to the Court, because at that stage an individual was not allowed to petition the Court directly. Over the years, as the Court grew in influence and respect, the system was streamlined until it became what we know today, a place where anyone can bring a case if they believe a Council of Europe member state has violated the rights that the Convention guarantees them.