Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
as amended by Protocol No. 11
The text of the Convention had been amended
according to the provisions of Protocol No. 3 (ETS No. 45), which entered into
force on 21 September 1970, of Protocol No. 5 (ETS No. 55), which entered into
force on 20 December 1971 and of Protocol No. 8 (ETS No. 118), which entered
into force on 1 January 1990, and comprised also the text of Protocol No. 2 (ETS
No. 44) which, in accordance with Article 5, paragraph 3 thereof, had been an
integral part of the Convention since its entry into force on 21 September
1970. All provisions which had been amended or added by these Protocols are
replaced by Protocol No. 11 (ETS No. 155), as from the date of its entry into
force on 1 November 1998. As from that date, Protocol No. 9 (ETS No. 140),
which entered into force on 1 October 1994, is repealed and Protocol No. 10 (ETS
No. 146) has lost its purpose.
The governments signatory hereto, being members of the Council of Europe,
Considering the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the
General Assembly of the United Nations on 10th December 1948;
Considering that this Declaration aims at securing the universal and
effective recognition and observance of the Rights therein declared;
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is the achievement of
greater unity between its members and that one of the methods by which that
aim is to be pursued is the maintenance and further realisation of human
rights and fundamental freedoms;
Reaffirming their profound belief in those fundamental freedoms which are
the foundation of justice and peace in the world and are best maintained on
the one hand by an effective political democracy and on the other by a common
understanding and observance of the human rights upon which they depend;
Being resolved, as the governments of European countries which are
like-minded and have a common heritage of political traditions, ideals,
freedom and the rule of law, to take the first steps for the collective
enforcement of certain of the rights stated in the Universal Declaration,
Have agreed as follows:
The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their
jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section I of this Convention.
- Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be
deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a
court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided
- Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of
this article when it results from the use of force which is no more than
- in defence of any person from unlawful violence;
- in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person
- in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or
No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment
- No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
- No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
- For the purpose of this article the term "forced or compulsory labour"
shall not include:
- any work required to be done in the ordinary course of detention imposed
according to the provisions of Article 5 of this Convention or during
conditional release from such detention;
- any service of a military character or, in case of conscientious
objectors in countries where they are recognised, service exacted instead of
compulsory military service;
- any service exacted in case of an emergency or calamity threatening the
life or well-being of the community;
- any work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations.
- Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be
deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a
procedure prescribed by law:
- the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court;
- the lawful arrest or detention of a person for non-compliance with the
lawful order of a court or in order to secure the fulfilment of any
obligation prescribed by law;
- the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of
bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of
having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to
prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;
- the detention of a minor by lawful order for the purpose of educational
supervision or his lawful detention for the purpose of bringing him before
the competent legal authority;
- the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of the spreading of
infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics or drug addicts
- the lawful arrest or detention of a person to prevent his effecting an
unauthorised entry into the country or of a person against whom action is
being taken with a view to deportation or extradition.
- Everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in a language which
he understands, of the reasons for his arrest and of any charge against him.
- Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of
paragraph 1.c of this article shall be brought promptly before a judge or
other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be
entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial.
Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.
- Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be
entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be
decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not
- Everyone who has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention
of the provisions of this article shall have an enforceable right to
- In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any
criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing
within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established
by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be
excluded from all or part of the trial in the interests of morals, public
order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of
juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or
to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special
circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.
- Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until
proved guilty according to law.
- Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:
- to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in
detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;
- to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;
- to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own
choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to
be given it free when the interests of justice so require;
- to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the
attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same
conditions as witnesses against him;
- to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or
speak the language used in court.
- No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act
or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national or
international law at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier
penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the criminal
offence was committed.
- This article shall not prejudice the trial and punishment of any person
for any act or omission which, at the time when it was committed, was criminal
according to the general principles of law recognised by civilised nations.
- Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his
home and his correspondence.
- There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of
this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a
democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the
economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime,
for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights
and freedoms of others.
- Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom,
either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest
his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
- Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to
such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic
society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order,
health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
- Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include
freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas
without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This
article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting,
television or cinema enterprises.
- The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and
responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions
or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic
society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or
public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of
health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others,
for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for
maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
- Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of
association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions
for the protection of his interests.
- No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than
such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the
interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of
disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the
protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This article shall not
prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights
by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the
Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a
family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right.
Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are
violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority
notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an
The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall
be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour,
language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin,
association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.
- In time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the
nation any High Contracting Party may take measures derogating from its
obligations under this Convention to the extent strictly required by the
exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent
with its other obligations under international law.
- No derogation from Article 2, except in respect of deaths resulting from
lawful acts of war, or from Articles 3, 4 (paragraph 1) and 7 shall be made
under this provision.
- Any High Contracting Party availing itself of this right of derogation
shall keep the Secretary General of the Council of Europe fully informed of
the measures which it has taken and the reasons therefor. It shall also inform
the Secretary General of the Council of Europe when such measures have ceased
to operate and the provisions of the Convention are again being fully
Nothing in Articles 10, 11 and 14 shall be regarded as preventing the High
Contracting Parties from imposing restrictions on the political activity of
Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as implying for any State,
group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed
at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein or at
their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the Convention.
The restrictions permitted under this Convention to the said rights and
freedoms shall not be applied for any purpose other than those for which they
have been prescribed.
To ensure the observance of the engagements undertaken by the High
Contracting Parties in the Convention and the Protocols thereto, there shall
be set up a European Court of Human Rights, hereinafter referred to as "the
Court". It shall function on a permanent basis.
The Court shall consist of a number of judges equal to that of the High
- The judges shall be of high moral character and must either possess the
qualifications required for appointment to high judicial office or be
jurisconsults of recognised competence.
- The judges shall sit on the Court in their individual capacity.
- During their term of office the judges shall not engage in any activity
which is incompatible with their independence, impartiality or with the
demands of a full-time office; all questions arising from the application of
this paragraph shall be decided by the Court.
- The judges shall be elected by the Parliamentary Assembly with respect to
each High Contracting Party by a majority of votes cast from a list of three
candidates nominated by the High Contracting Party.
- The same procedure shall be followed to complete the Court in the event of
the accession of new High Contracting Parties and in filling casual vacancies.
- The judges shall be elected for a period of six years. They may be
re-elected. However, the terms of office of one-half of the judges elected at
the first election shall expire at the end of three years.
- The judges whose terms of office are to expire at the end of the initial
period of three years shall be chosen by lot by the Secretary General of the
Council of Europe immediately after their election.
- In order to ensure that, as far as possible, the terms of office of
one-half of the judges are renewed every three years, the Parliamentary
Assembly may decide, before proceeding to any subsequent election, that the
term or terms of office of one or more judges to be elected shall be for a
period other than six years but not more than nine and not less than three
- In cases where more than one term of office is involved and where the
Parliamentary Assembly applies the preceding paragraph, the allocation of the
terms of office shall be effected by a drawing of lots by the Secretary
General of the Council of Europe immediately after the election.
- A judge elected to replace a judge whose term of office has not expired
shall hold office for the remainder of his predecessor's term.
- The terms of office of judges shall expire when they reach the age of 70.
- The judges shall hold office until replaced. They shall, however, continue
to deal with such cases as they already have under consideration.
No judge may be dismissed from his office unless the other judges decide by
a majority of two-thirds that he has ceased to fulfil the required conditions.
The Court shall have a registry, the functions and organisation of which
shall be laid down in the rules of the Court. The Court shall be assisted by
The plenary Court shall:
- elect its President and one or two Vice-Presidents for a period of three
years; they may be re-elected;
- set up Chambers, constituted for a fixed period of time;
- elect the Presidents of the Chambers of the Court; they may be
- adopt the rules of the Court, and
- elect the Registrar and one or more Deputy Registrars.
- To consider cases brought before it, the Court shall sit in committees of
three judges, in Chambers of seven judges and in a Grand Chamber of seventeen
judges. The Court's Chambers shall set up committees for a fixed period of
- There shall sit as an ex officio member of the Chamber and the
Grand Chamber the judge elected in respect of the State Party concerned or, if
there is none or if he is unable to sit, a person of its choice who shall sit
in the capacity of judge.
- The Grand Chamber shall also include the President of the Court, the
Vice-Presidents, the Presidents of the Chambers and other judges chosen in
accordance with the rules of the Court. When a case is referred to the Grand
Chamber under Article 43, no judge from the Chamber which rendered the
judgment shall sit in the Grand Chamber, with the exception of the President
of the Chamber and the judge who sat in respect of the State Party concerned.
A committee may, by a unanimous vote, declare inadmissible or strike out of
its list of cases an application submitted under Article 34 where such a
decision can be taken without further examination. The decision shall be
- If no decision is taken under Article 28, a Chamber shall decide on the
admissibility and merits of individual applications submitted under Article
- A Chamber shall decide on the admissibility and merits of inter-State
applications submitted under Article 33.
- The decision on admissibility shall be taken separately unless the Court,
in exceptional cases, decides otherwise.
Where a case pending before a Chamber raises a serious question affecting
the interpretation of the Convention or the protocols thereto, or where the
resolution of a question before the Chamber might have a result inconsistent
with a judgment previously delivered by the Court, the Chamber may, at any
time before it has rendered its judgment, relinquish jurisdiction in favour of
the Grand Chamber, unless one of the parties to the case objects.
The Grand Chamber shall:
- determine applications submitted either under Article 33 or Article 34
when a Chamber has relinquished jurisdiction under Article 30 or when the
case has been referred to it under Article 43; and
- consider requests for advisory opinions submitted under Article 47.
- The jurisdiction of the Court shall extend to all matters concerning the
interpretation and application of the Convention and the protocols thereto
which are referred to it as provided in Articles 33, 34 and 47.
- In the event of dispute as to whether the Court has jurisdiction, the
Court shall decide.
Any High Contracting Party may refer to the Court any alleged breach of the
provisions of the Convention and the protocols thereto by another High
Declarations under former Articles 25 and 46 of the ECHR
The Court may receive applications from any person, non-governmental
organisation or group of individuals claiming to be the victim of a violation
by one of the High Contracting Parties of the rights set forth in the
Convention or the protocols thereto. The High Contracting Parties undertake
not to hinder in any way the effective exercise of this right.
- The Court may only deal with the matter after all domestic remedies have
been exhausted, according to the generally recognised rules of international
law, and within a period of six months from the date on which the final
decision was taken.
- The Court shall not deal with any application submitted under Article 34
- is anonymous; or
- is substantially the same as a matter that has already been examined by
the Court or has already been submitted to another procedure of
international investigation or settlement and contains no relevant new
- The Court shall declare inadmissible any individual application submitted
under Article 34 which it considers incompatible with the provisions of the
Convention or the protocols thereto, manifestly ill-founded, or an abuse of
the right of application.
- The Court shall reject any application which it considers inadmissible
under this Article. It may do so at any stage of the proceedings.
- In all cases before a Chamber or the Grand Chamber, a High Contracting
Party one of whose nationals is an applicant shall have the right to submit
written comments and to take part in hearings.
- The President of the Court may, in the interest of the proper
administration of justice, invite any High Contracting Party which is not a
party to the proceedings or any person concerned who is not the applicant to
submit written comments or take part in hearings.
- The Court may at any stage of the proceedings decide to strike an
application out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to the
- the applicant does not intend to pursue his application; or
- the matter has been resolved; or
- for any other reason established by the Court, it is no longer justified
to continue the examination of the application.
However, the Court shall continue the examination of the application if
respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the protocols
thereto so requires.
- The Court may decide to restore an application to its list of cases if it
considers that the circumstances justify such a course.
- If the Court declares the application admissible, it shall:
- pursue the examination of the case, together with the representatives of
the parties, and if need be, undertake an investigation, for the effective
conduct of which the States concerned shall furnish all necessary
- place itself at the disposal of the parties concerned with a view to
securing a friendly settlement of the matter on the basis of respect for
human rights as defined in the Convention and the protocols thereto.
- Proceedings conducted under paragraph 1.b shall be confidential.
If a friendly settlement is effected, the Court shall strike the case out
of its list by means of a decision which shall be confined to a brief
statement of the facts and of the solution reached.
- Hearings shall be in public unless the Court in exceptional circumstances
- Documents deposited with the Registrar shall be accessible to the public
unless the President of the Court decides otherwise.
If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the
protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party
concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if
necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.
Judgments of Chambers shall become final in accordance with the provisions
of Article 44, paragraph 2.
- Within a period of three months from the date of the judgment of the
Chamber, any party to the case may, in exceptional cases, request that the
case be referred to the Grand Chamber.
- A panel of five judges of the Grand Chamber shall accept the request if
the case raises a serious question affecting the interpretation or application
of the Convention or the protocols thereto, or a serious issue of general
- If the panel accepts the request, the Grand Chamber shall decide the case
by means of a judgment.
- The judgment of the Grand Chamber shall be final.
- The judgment of a Chamber shall become final:
- when the parties declare that they will not request that the case be
referred to the Grand Chamber; or
- three months after the date of the judgment, if reference of the case to
the Grand Chamber has not been requested; or
- when the panel of the Grand Chamber rejects the request to refer under
- The final judgment shall be published.
- Reasons shall be given for judgments as well as for decisions declaring
applications admissible or inadmissible.
- If a judgment does not represent, in whole or in part, the unanimous
opinion of the judges, any judge shall be entitled to deliver a separate
- The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of
the Court in any case to which they are parties.
- The final judgment of the Court shall be transmitted to the Committee of
Ministers, which shall supervise its execution.
- The Court may, at the request of the Committee of Ministers, give advisory
opinions on legal questions concerning the interpretation of the Convention
and the protocols thereto.
- Such opinions shall not deal with any question relating to the content or
scope of the rights or freedoms defined in Section I of the Convention and the
protocols thereto, or with any other question which the Court or the Committee
of Ministers might have to consider in consequence of any such proceedings as
could be instituted in accordance with the Convention.
- Decisions of the Committee of Ministers to request an advisory opinion of
the Court shall require a majority vote of the representatives entitled to sit
on the Committee.
The Court shall decide whether a request for an advisory opinion submitted
by the Committee of Ministers is within its competence as defined in Article
- Reasons shall be given for advisory opinions of the Court.
- If the advisory opinion does not represent, in whole or in part, the
unanimous opinion of the judges, any judge shall be entitled to deliver a
- Advisory opinions of the Court shall be communicated to the Committee of
The expenditure on the Court shall be borne by the Council of Europe.
The judges shall be entitled, during the exercise of their functions, to
the privileges and immunities provided for in Article 40 of the Statute of the
Council of Europe and in the agreements made thereunder.
On receipt of a request from the Secretary General of the Council of Europe
any High Contracting Party shall furnish an explanation of the manner in which
its internal law ensures the effective implementation of any of the provisions
of the Convention.
Nothing in this Convention shall be construed as limiting or derogating
from any of the human rights and fundamental freedoms which may be ensured
under the laws of any High Contracting Party or under any other agreement to
which it is a Party.
Nothing in this Convention shall prejudice the powers conferred on the
Committee of Ministers by the Statute of the Council of Europe.
The High Contracting Parties agree that, except by special agreement, they
will not avail themselves of treaties, conventions or declarations in force
between them for the purpose of submitting, by way of petition, a dispute
arising out of the interpretation or application of this Convention to a means
of settlement other than those provided for in this Convention.
State may at the time of its ratification or at any time thereafter declare by
notification addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe that
the present Convention shall, subject to paragraph 4 of this Article, extend
to all or any of the territories for whose international relations it is
- The Convention shall extend to the territory or territories named in the
notification as from the thirtieth day after the receipt of this notification
by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- The provisions of this Convention shall be applied in such territories
with due regard, however, to local requirements.
State which has made a declaration in accordance with paragraph 1 of this
article may at any time thereafter declare on behalf of one or more of the
territories to which the declaration relates that it accepts the competence of
the Court to receive applications from individuals, non-governmental
organisations or groups of individuals as provided by Article 34 of the
- Any State may, when signing this Convention or when depositing its
instrument of ratification, make a reservation in respect of any particular
provision of the Convention to the extent that any law then in force in its
territory is not in conformity with the provision. Reservations of a general
character shall not be permitted under this article.
- Any reservation made under this article shall contain a brief statement of
the law concerned.
- A High Contracting Party may denounce the present Convention only after
the expiry of five years from the date on which it became a party to it and
after six months' notice contained in a notification addressed to the
Secretary General of the Council of Europe, who shall inform the other High
- Such a denunciation shall not have the effect of releasing the High
Contracting Party concerned from its obligations under this Convention in
respect of any act which, being capable of constituting a violation of such
obligations, may have been performed by it before the date at which the
denunciation became effective.
- Any High Contracting Party which shall cease to be a member of the Council
of Europe shall cease to be a Party to this Convention under the same
Convention may be denounced in accordance with the provisions of the preceding
paragraphs in respect of any territory to which it has been declared to extend
under the terms of Article 56.
- This Convention shall be open to the signature of the members of the
Council of Europe. It shall be ratified. Ratifications shall be deposited with
the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- The present Convention shall come into force after the deposit of ten
instruments of ratification.
- As regards any signatory ratifying subsequently, the Convention shall come
into force at the date of the deposit of its instrument of ratification.
- The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall notify all the
members of the Council of Europe of the entry into force of the Convention,
the names of the High Contracting Parties who have ratified it, and the
deposit of all instruments of ratification which may be effected subsequently.
Done at Rome this 4th day of November 1950, in English and French, both texts
being equally authentic, in a single copy which shall remain deposited in the
archives of the Council of Europe. The Secretary General shall transmit
certified copies to each of the signatories.
- Heading added according to the provisions of Protocol No. 11
(ETS No. 155).
- New Section II according to the provisions of Protocol No.
11 (ETS No. 155).
- The articles of this Section are renumbered according to the
provisions of Protocol No. 11 (ETS No. 155).
- Text amended according to the provisions of Protocol No. 11
(ETS No. 155).