European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, entered into force Sept. 3, 1953, as amended by Protocols Nos 3, 5, and 8 which entered into force on 21 September 1970, 20 December 1971 and 1 January 1990 respectively:
The Governments signatory hereto, being Members of the Council of
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 realization 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.
1. 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 by law.
2. 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 absolutely necessary:
a. in defence of any person from unlawful violence;
b. in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully
c. in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
1. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
2. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
3. For the purpose of this Article the term "forced or compulsory labour" shall not include
a. 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;
b. 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;
c. any service exacted in case of an emergency or calamity threatening the life or
well-being of the community;
d. any work or service which forms part of normal civil obligations.
1. 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 the procedure prescribed by law:
a. the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court;
b. the lawful arrest or detention of a person for non- compliance with the lawful order
of a court or in order to secure the fulfillment of any obligation prescribed by law;
c. 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;
d. 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
e. the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of the spreading of infectious
diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics or drug addicts or vagrants;
f. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 lawful.
5. Everyone who has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention of the provisions of
this Article shall have an enforceable right to compensation.
1. 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.
2. Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty
according to law.
3. Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:
a. to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the
nature and cause of the accusation against him;
b. to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;
c. 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;
d. 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
e. to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the
language used in court.
1. 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.
2. 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.
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his
2. 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.
1. 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.
2. 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
1. 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.
2. 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.
1. 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.
2. 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 State.
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 official capacity.
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
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 executed.
Nothing in Articles 10, 11 and 14 shall be regarded as preventing the High Contracting Parties
from imposing restrictions on the political activity of aliens.
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
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 present Convention, there shall be set up:
1. A European Commission of Human Rights hereinafter referred to as "the Commission";
2. A European Court of Human Rights, hereinafter referred to as "the Court".
The Commission shall consist of a number of members equal to that of the High Contracting
Parties. No two members of the Commission may be nationals of the same State.
1. The members of the Commission shall be elected by the Committee of Ministers by an
absolute majority of votes, from a list of names drawn up by the Bureau of the Consultative
Assembly; each group of the Representatives of the High Contracting Parties in the Consultative
Assembly shall put forward three candidates, of whom two at least shall be its nationals.
2. As far as applicable, the same procedure shall be followed to complete the Commission in the
event of other States subsequently becoming Parties to this Convention, and in filling casual
1. The members of the Commission shall be elected for a period of six years. They may be
re-elected. However, of the members elected at the first election, the terms of seven members
shall expire at the end of three years.
2. The members whose terms 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 the first
election has been completed.
3. A member of the Commission elected to replace a member whose term of office has not
expired shall hold office for the remainder of his predecessor's term.
4. The members of the Commission shall hold office until replaced. After having been replaced,
they shall continue to deal with such cases as they already have under consideration.
The members of the Commission shall sit on the Commission in their individual capacity.
Any High Contracting Party may refer to the Commission, through the Secretary-General of the
Council of Europe, any alleged breach of the provisions of the Convention by another High
1. The Commission may receive petitions addressed to the Secretary-General of the Council of
Europe 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 this
Convention, provided that the High Contracting Party against which the complaint has been
lodged has declared that it recognises the competence of the Commission to receive such
petitions. Those of the High Contracting Parties who have made such a declaration undertake
not to hinder in any way the effective exercise of this right.
2. Such declarations may be made for a specific period.
3. The declarations shall be deposited with the Secretary- General of the Council of Europe who
shall transmit copies thereof to the High Contracting Parties and publish them.
4. The Commission shall only exercise the powers provided for in this Article when at least six
High Contracting Parties are bound by declarations made in accordance with the preceding
The Commission 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.
1. The Commission shall not deal with any petition submitted under Article 25 which
a. is anonymous, or
b. is substantially the same as a matter which has already been examined by the
Commission or has already been submitted to another procedure of international
investigation or settlement and if it contains no relevant new information.
2. The Commission shall consider inadmissible any petition submitted under Article 25 which it
considers incompatible with the provisions of the present Convention, manifestly ill-founded, or
an abuse of the right of petition.
3. The Commission shall reject any petition referred to it which it considers inadmissible under
In the event of the Commission accepting a petition referred to it:
a. it shall, with a view to ascertaining the facts, undertake together with the representatives of
the parties an examination of the petition and, if need be, an investigation, for the effective
conduct of which the States concerned shall furnish all necessary facilities, after an exchange of
views with the Commission;
b. it shall 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 this Convention.
After it has accepted a petition submitted under Article 25, the Commission may nevertheless
decide unanimously to reject the petition if, in the course of its examination, if finds that the
existence of one of the grounds for non-acceptance provided for in Article 27 has been
In such a case, the decision shall be communicated to the parties.
If the Commission succeeds in effecting a friendly settlement in accordance with Article 28, it
shall draw up a Report which shall be sent to the States concerned, to the Committee of
Ministers and to the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe for publication. This Report
shall be confined to a brief statement of the facts and of the solution reached.
1. If a solution is not reached, the Commission shall draw up a Report on the facts and state its
opinion as to whether the facts found disclose a breach by the State concerned of its obligations
under the Convention. The opinions of all the members of the Commission on this point may be
stated in the Report.
2. The Report shall be transmitted to the Committee of Ministers. It shall also be transmitted to
the States concerned, who shall not be at liberty to publish it.
3. In transmitting the Report to the Committee of Ministers the Commission may make such
proposals as it thinks fit.
1. If the question is not referred to the Court in accordance with Article 48 of this Convention
within a period of three months from the date of the transmission of the Report to the Committee
of Ministers, the Committee of Ministers shall decide by a majority of two-thirds of the members
entitled to sit on the Committee whether there has been a violation of the Convention.
2. In the affirmative case the Committee of Ministers shall prescribe a period during which the
High Contracting Party concerned must take the measures required by the decision of the
Committee of Ministers.
3. If the High Contracting Party concerned has not taken satisfactory measures within the
prescribed period, the Committee of Ministers shall decide by the majority provided for in
paragraph (1) above what effect shall be given to its original decision and shall publish the
4. The High Contracting Parties undertake to regard as binding on them any decision which the
Committee of Ministers may take in application of the preceding paragraphs.
The Commission shall meet in camera.
Subject to the provisions of Article 29, the Commission shall take its decisions by a majority of
the Members present and voting.
The Commission shall meet as the circumstances require. The meetings shall be convened by
the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.
The Commission shall draw up its own rules of procedure.
The secretariat of the Commission shall be provided by the Secretary-General of the Council of
The European Court of Human Rights shall consist of a number of judges equal to that of the
Members of the Council of Europe. No two judges may be nationals of the same State.
1. The members of the Court shall be elected by the Consultative Assembly by a majority of the
votes cast from a list of persons nominated by the Members of the Council of Europe; each
Member shall nominate three candidates, of whom two at least shall be its nationals.
2. As far as applicable, the same procedure shall be followed to complete the Court in the event
of the admission of new Members of the Council of Europe, and in filling casual vacancies.
3. The candidates 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.
1. The members of the Court shall be elected for a period of nine years. They may be
re-elected. However, of the members elected at the first election the terms of four members shall
expire at the end of three years, and the terms of four more members shall expire at the end of
2. The members whose terms are to expire at the end of the initial periods of three and six years
shall be chosen by lot by the Secretary-General immediately after the first election has been
3. A member of the Court elected to replace a member whose term of office has not expired shall
hold office for the remainder of his predecessor's term.
4. The members of the Court shall hold office until replaced. After having been replaced, they
shall continue to deal with such cases as they already have under consideration.
The Court shall elect its President and Vice-President for a period of three years. They may be
The members of the Court shall receive for each day of duty a compensation to be determined
by the Committee of Ministers.
For the consideration of each case brought before it the Court shall consist of a Chamber
composed of seven judges. There shall sit as an ex officio member of the Chamber the judge
who is a national of any State Party concerned, or, if there is none, a person of its choice who
shall sit in the capacity of judge; the names of the other judges shall be chosen by lot by the
President before the opening of the case.
Only the High Contracting Parties and the Commission shall have the right to bring a case
before the Court.
The jurisdiction of the Court shall extend to all cases concerning the interpretation and
application of the present Convention which the High Contracting Parties or the Commission
shall refer to it in accordance with Article 48.
1. Any of the High Contracting Parties may at any time declare that it recognises as compulsory
ipso facto and without special agreement the jurisdiction of the Court in all matters concerning
the interpretation and application of the present Convention.
2. The declarations referred to above may be made unconditionally or on condition of reciprocity
on the part of several or certain other High Contracting Parties or for a specified period.
3. These declarations shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe
who shall transmit copies thereof to the High Contracting Parties.
The Court may only deal with a case after the Commission has acknowledged the failure of
efforts for a friendly settlement and within the period of three months provided for in Article 32.
The following may bring a case before the Court, provided that the High Contracting Party
concerned, if there is only one, or the High Contracting Parties concerned, if there is more than
one, are subject to the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court or, failing that, with the consent of
the High Contracting Party concerned, if there is only one, or of the High Contracting Parties
concerned if there is more than one:
a. the Commission;
b. a High Contracting Party whose national is alleged to be a victim;
c. a High Contracting Party which referred the case to the Commission;
d. a High Contracting Party against which the complaint has been lodged.
In the event of dispute as to whether the Court has jurisdiction, the matter shall be settled by the
decision of the Court.
If the Court finds that a decision or a measure taken by a legal authority or any other authority of
a High Contracting Party is completely or partially in conflict with the obligations arising from the
present Convention, and if the internal law of the said Party allows only partial reparation to be
made for the consequences of this decision or measure, the decision of the Court shall, if
necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.
1. Reasons shall be given for the judgment of the Court.
2. If the judgment does not represent in whole or in part the unanimous opinion of the judges,
any judge shall be entitled to deliver a separate opinion.
The judgment of the Court shall be final.
The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the decision of the Court in any case to
which they are parties.
The judgment of the Court shall be transmitted to the Committee of Ministers which shall
supervise its execution.
The Court shall draw up its own rules and shall determine its own procedure.
1. The first election of the members of the Court shall take place after the declarations by the
High Contracting Parties mentioned in Article 46 have reached a total of eight.
2. No case can be brought before the Court before this election.
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 this Convention.
The expenses of the Commission and the Court shall be borne by the Council of Europe.
The members of the Commission and of the Court shall be entitled, during the discharge 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.
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.
1. Any 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
extend to all or any of the territories for whose international relations it is responsible.
2. 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
3. The provisions of this Convention shall be applied in such territories with due regard,
however, to local requirements.
4. Any 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 Commission to receive petitions from individuals,
non-governmental organisations or groups of individuals in accordance with Article 25 of the
1. 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.
2. Any reservation made under this Article shall contain a brief statement of the law concerned.
1. 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 Contracting Parties.
2. 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.
3. 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 conditions.
4. The 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
1. 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
2. The present Convention shall come into force after the deposit of ten instruments of
3. As regards any signatory ratifying subsequently, the Convention shall come into force at the
date of the deposit of its instrument of ratification.
4. 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
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.