According to critics in some of the Nordic countries the bodies that monitor and adjudicate international human rights courts are undermining their own legitimacy by adhering to undemocratic practices.

The strongest normative case against the judicial review that such bodies perform could be directed at the European Court on Human Rights (ECtHR), which monitors many well-functioning democracies. Section 1 lists normative objections to judicial review in general. Section 2 sketches a normative defense this practice, and Section 3 presents some relevant aspects of the ECtHR. Section 4 returns to consider the various objections. The mandate, composition, institutional environment and mode of operation of the ECtHR renders it immune to several of these criticisms. The conclusion identifies some objections that merit further attention, both for empirical research and for normative analysis.

Keywords: Human Rights, International judicial review, legitimacy, democracy, European Court on Human Rights, European Convention on Human Rights.