The individual complaint is a legal remedy that enables natural persons , non-governmental organizations and groups of people to assert a violation of their rights by a party to international treaties. As a rule, this path can only be taken after the legal process at national level has been exhausted.
The following human rights treaties provide for an individual right of appeal:
- First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (UN Civil Pact)
- Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN Social Covenant )
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN Convention against Torture )
- International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)
- International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (UN Migrant Workers Convention)
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
- European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)
The relevant treaty bodies, expert committees that monitor the implementation of the agreement, are responsible for receiving individual complaints under the UN human rights treaties.
European Convention on Human Rights
The individual complaint of the European Convention on Human Rights is provided for in Art. 34, 35 ECHR. Since 1998, individual complaints have been dealt with exclusively before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg .
Art. 13 ECHR, on the other hand, opens up the possibility of filing an effective complaint with a domestic authority.
According to Art. 35, the individual complaint presupposes exhaustion of legal recourse within the country . In Germany, this also includes a constitutional complaint . In particular, the principle of subsidiarity must be taken into account.
Another prerequisite for the admissibility of an individual complaint is the filing of an action within six months of the final domestic decision (Art. 35 (1) ECHR). Individual complaints cannot be filed anonymously, and the complaint must not substantially coincide with another complaint that the ECHR or another international investigative or comparative body has already examined if it does not contain any new facts (Art. 35 (2) ECHR).
- German Institute for Human Rights (ed.): The individual complaint according to Art. 14 of the International Convention against Racism (ICERD). A manual for non-governmental organizations and those affected . Berlin 2005. ISBN 3-937714-13-8
- Art. 34 , Art. 35 ECHR
- Proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights website on the ECHR, accessed on April 14, 2017