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Switzerland ‘should quit European Court of Human Rights over climate ruling’

Switzerland ‘should quit European Court of Human Rights over climate ruling’

Switzerland must quit the European Court of Human Rights to save it from the malign influence of foreign judges, the vice president of the country’s biggest party has said.

Céline Amaudruz warned that the Swiss population was the boss, not a court in Strasbourg.

On Tuesday, the court found in favour of more than 2,000 Swiss women – a third of them over 75 – who said their country’s inaction in the face of rising temperatures puts them at risk of dying during heatwaves.

Ms Amaudruz’s Right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) said the country should quit the Council of Europe and its court after the landmark judgement, which threatens to have consequences for all member states of the non-EU human rights organisation, including Britain.

She said, “We are disappointed, even shocked about the decision. But for us, it’s not a surprise. It’s just what we told the Swiss population. If we have a foreign court, we lose our independence and sovereignty.”

“People in favour of the court have always said we lose nothing with it. This situation proves what we have always said, we lose everything with a foreign court.”

Greens welcome climate decision

The SVP is part of the cross-party government but other members, such as the greens and socialists, have welcomed the European decision.

However, the Eurosceptic party does hold the environment ministry, which will one day have to attempt to put the decision made by judges it calls “puppets for activists” into practice.

“We are very good with the climate, we have a good ranking,” Ms Amaudruz said. “What the court said about human rights is fake news.”

Switzerland was ranked in the top ten for environmental sustainability in one 2022 international study but attempts to ramp up its climate ambition have been blocked in referendums.

“In Switzerland, in the end, the boss is the population of the country. The parliament is really the population,” Ms Amaudruz said.

She said that the Swiss experience had many parallels with the UK Government’s battles with the European court over the Rwanda plan.

“It is exactly the same as in the UK. They start with climate because it is more popular but in the end, it will be everything, immigration, everything,” she said.

No majority to leave Council of Europe

Political experts said her party would not be able to secure a majority to leave the Council of Europe and its court but suggested the government could perhaps push for some reforms to it.

Romain Clivaz is a political commentator and head of the opinion section at the Geneva-based newspaper Le Temps.

He said that Switzerland was polarised between its French and larger German-speaking community, which represents about two-thirds of the country, over the decision by the court in France.

“In the French-speaking media, the European Court of Human Rights ruling has been much better perceived than in the German-speaking media,” he told The Telegraph.

One reason was “a stronger attachment to direct democracy in German-speaking Switzerland”.

“It goes back a very long way in history, with collective bottom-up decision-making mechanisms in rural communities, long before the foundation of modern Switzerland of 1848,” he said.

Mr Clivaz said: “In Swiss politics, the first and the last words come from the citizen, not from Swiss or foreign courts. And we voted on climate policy in a number of referendums.”

“I’m convinced that a large majority of the citizens don’t support the court’s judgment,” Mr Clivez added.