The right to individual petition under Article 34



The Court may receive applications from any person, non-governmental organization or group of individuals claiming to be the victim of a violation of the rights set forth in the Convention or the protocols thereto.


Any natural person or legal entity may exercise the right of individual petition, regardless of nationality, place of residence, civil status or capacity to possess rights and be bound by obligations, to rely on the protection of the Convention against a State Party when the alleged violation took place within the jurisdiction of the State concerned.


Any non-governmental organization in the broad sense (excluding organizations exercising government powers) may exercise the right of petition.


Any group of individuals set up under national law, regardless of the number of members, is eligible to submit an application.




The right to apply to the Court is absolute and admits of no hindrance, which implies freedom to communicate with the organs of the Convention (even in prison).


The authorities must refrain from putting any form of pressure on applicants to withdraw or modify their complaints, which implies also indirect acts or contacts (for example : interrogation by the authorities about the application; threats of criminal prosecution; police questioning about the claim for just satisfaction; inability of the applicant’s lawyer and doctor to meet; failure to respect the confidentiality of lawyer-applicant discussions; refusal by the prison authorities to forward an application to the Court…).


When, under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, the Court indicate interim measures to the State, failure to comply is to be regarded as preventing the Court from effectively examining the applicant's complaint and as hindering the effective exercise the rights under Article 34.


While the Court is responsible for establishing the facts, it is up to the parties to provide active assistance by supplying it with all the relevant information.


Their conduct may be taken into account when evidence is sought. A failure on the Government's part to submit such information as is in their hands without a satisfactory explanation may be prove the well-foundedness of the allegations (for example: lack of access to detention records; lack of access to copies of the investigation file; preventing a lawyer from having access to a client's medical file…).


The respondent State is also expected to help with investigations, for it is up to the State to furnish the necessary facilities for the effective examination of applications.