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The ECHR protects a wide range of civil and political rights, including the right to life, freedom from torture, freedom from slavery and servitude, the right to a fair trial and no punishment without law, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, free expression and peaceful assembly, freedom from discrimination on any grounds such as sex or race and the right to marry. The Convention also establishes a procedure for individuals who believe their rights have been violated to bring complaints before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECtHR).

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is an international court established by the ECHR which is responsible for ensuring that governments respect human rights as set out in the Convention. It provides individuals with a way to hold their government accountable if they feel their rights have been violated. It is important because it ensures that everyone’s fundamental human rights are respected across Europe regardless of where they live or who has power over them.

The ECtHR can receive complaints from individuals if they believe their fundamental human rights have been violated by a state party to the ECHR. Once a complaint has been submitted, it is examined by a panel of judges who decide whether there has been a violation of any article(s) in the Convention. If there are violations found then the state party can be required to take action to remedy this situation or may be subject to sanctions imposed by other states parties or international organisations such as the European Union (EU). This ensures that all states parties abide by their obligations under international law.

In addition, decisions made by the ECtHR can set precedent across Europe because judgments are binding on all states parties regardless of whether they were involved in an individual case or not. This means that all states must abide by its decisions even though it was not directly involved in any particular dispute. This creates consistency across legal systems and helps promote respect for human rights throughout Europe as countries must take into account how other states deal with similar cases when formulating their own policy decisions. 

Overall, The European Convention on Human Rights and its associated enforcement mechanism provided by The European Court of Human Rights are incredibly important for ensuring fundamental human rights are respected across Europe regardless of who holds power over them. It provides individuals with access to justice if they feel their rights have been violated while setting precedents which all states must follow when formulating policy decisions.