16 - aliens
Article 16 allows states to restrict the political activity
of foreigners. The Court has ruled that European Union member states cannot
consider the nationals of other member states to be aliens.
17 - abuse of rights
Article 17 provides that no one may use the rights
guaranteed by the Convention to seek the abolition or limitation of rights
guaranteed in the Convention. This addresses instances where states seek to
restrict a human right in the name of another human right, or where individuals
rely on a human right to undermine other human rights (for example where an
individual issues a death threat).
Article 18 - permitted restrictions
article: Article 18 of the European Convention on Human
Article 18 provides that any limitations on the rights
provided for in the Convention may be used only for the purpose for which they
are provided. For example, Article 5, which guarantees the right to personal
freedom, may be explicitly limited in order to bring a suspect before a judge.
To use pre-trial detention as a means of intimidation of a person under a false
pretext is therefore a limitation of right (to freedom) which does not serve an
explicitly provided purpose (to be brought before a judge), and is therefore
contrary to Article 18.
As of January 2010, fifteen protocols to the Convention have been opened for
signature. These can be divided into two main groups: those amending the
framework of the convention system, and those expanding the rights that can be
protected. The former require unanimous ratification by member states before
coming into force, while the latter require a certain number of states to sign
before coming into force.
 Protocol 1
This Protocol contains three different rights in which the
signatories could not agree to place in the Convention itself. Monaco and Switzerland
have signed but never ratified Protocol 1.
1 - property
Article 1 provides for the right to the peaceful enjoyment of one's
2 - education
Article 2 provides for the right not to be denied an
education and the right for parents to have their children educated in
accordance with their religious and other views. It does not however guarantee
any particular level of education of any particular quality.
Although phrased in the Protocol as a negative right, in ?ahin
v. Turkey the Court ruled that:
would be hard to imagine that institutions of higher education existing at a
given time do not come within the scope of the first sentence of Article 2 of
Protocol No 1. Although that Article does not impose a duty on the Contracting
States to set up institutions of higher education, any State doing so will be
under an obligation to afford an effective right of access to them. In a democratic
society, the right to education, which is indispensable to the furtherance of
human rights, plays such a fundamental role that a restrictive interpretation
of the first sentence of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 would not be consistent
with the aim or purpose of that provision."
3 - elections
Article 3 provides for the right to regular, free and fair
Protocol 4 - civil imprisonment, free movement, expulsion
Article 1 prohibits the imprisonment of people for breach of
a contract. Article 2 provides for a right to freely move within a country once
lawfully there and for a right to leave any country. Article 3 prohibits the
expulsion of nationals and provides for the right of an individual to enter a
country of his or her nationality. Article 4 prohibits the collective expulsion
Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom
have signed but never ratified Protocol 4. Andorra,
and Switzerland have neither signed nor ratified this protocol.
The United Kingdom's failure to ratify this protocol is due
to concerns over the interaction of Article 2 and Article 3 with British nationality law. Specifically, several classes of "British
national" (such as British
National (Overseas)) do not have the right of abode in
the United Kingdom and are subject to immigration control there. In 2009, the
UK government stated that it had no plans to ratify Protocol 4 because of
concerns that those articles could be taken as conferring that right.
Protocol 6 - restriction of death penalty
Requires parties to restrict the application of the death penalty to times of war or "imminent threat of war".
Every Council of Europe member state has signed and ratified
Protocol 6, except Russia who has signed but not ratified.
7 - crime and family
- Article 1 provides for a right
to fair procedures for lawfully resident foreigners facing expulsion.
- Article 2 provides for the
right to appeal in criminal matters.
- Article 3 provides for
compensation for the victims of miscarriages of justice.
- Article 4 prohibits the
re-trial of anyone who has already been finally acquitted or convicted of
a particular offence (Double jeopardy).
- Article 5 provides for equality
Despite having signed the protocol more than twenty years
ago, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey have never ratified it. Spain
which signed the protocol in 1984 ratified it in 2009, becoming the latest
member state to do so. The United Kingdom has neither signed nor ratified the
12 - discrimination
Applies the current expansive and indefinite grounds of
prohibited discrimination in Article 14
to the exercise of any legal right and to the actions (including the
obligations) of public authorities.
The Protocol entered into force on 1 April 2005 and has (As
of July 2009) been ratified by 17 member states. Several member states —
and the United Kingdom — have not signed the protocol.
The United Kingdom Government has declined to sign Protocol
12 on the basis that they believe the wording of protocol is too wide and would
result in a flood of new cases testing the extent of the new provision. They
believe that the phrase "rights set forth by law" might include
international conventions to which the UK is not a party, and would result in
incorporation of these instruments by stealth. It has been suggested that the
protocol is therefore in a kind of catch-22,
since the UK will decline to either sign or ratify the protocol until the European Court of Human Rights
has addressed the meaning of the provision, while the court is hindered in
doing so by the lack of applications to the court concerning the protocol
caused by the decisions of Europe's most populous states — including the UK —
not to ratify the protocol. The UK Government, nevertheless, "agrees in
principle that the ECHR should contain a provision against discrimination that
is free-standing and not parasitic on the other Convention rights".
The first judgment finding a violation of Protocol No. 12 was delivered in 2009
— Sejdi? and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Protocol 13 - complete abolition of death penalty
Provides for the total abolition of the death penalty.
As of May 2011 the majority of the Council of Europe has ratified Protocol
have signed but not ratified the protocol, whilst Russia and Azerbaijan
have not signed it.
Procedural and institutional protocols
The Convention's provisions affecting institutional and
procedural matters has been altered several times by mean of protocols. These
amendments have, with of the exception of Protocol 2, amended the text of the
convention. Protocol 2 did not amend the text of the convention as such, but
stipulated that it was to be treated as an integral part of the text. All of
these protocols have required the unanimous ratification of all the member
states of the Council of Europe to enter into force.
Protocols 2, 3, 5, 8, 9 and 10 have now been superseded by
Protocol 11 which entered into force on 1 November 1998.
It established a fundamental change in the machinery of the convention. It
abolished the Commission, allowing individuals to apply directly to the Court,
which was given compulsory jurisdiction and altered the latter's structure.
Previously states could ratify the Convention without accepting the
jurisdiction of the Court of Human Rights. The protocol also abolished the
judicial functions of the Committee of Ministers.
Protocol 14 follows on from Protocol 11 in proposing to
further improving the efficiency of the Court. It seeks to "filter"
out cases that have less chance of succeeding along with those that are broadly
similar to cases brought previously against the same member state. Furthermore
a case will not be considered admissible where an applicant has not suffered a
"significant disadvantage". This latter ground can only be used when
an examination of the application on the merits is not considered necessary and
where the subject-matter of the application had already been considered by a
A new mechanism was introduced by Protocol 14 to assist
enforcement of judgements by the Committee of Ministers. The Committee can ask
the Court for an interpretation of a judgement and can even bring a member
state before the Court for non-compliance of a previous judgement against that
state. Protocol 14 also allows for European Union
accession to the Convention. The protocol has been ratified by every Council of
Europe member state, Russia being last in February 2010. It entered into force
on 1 June 2010.
A provisional Protocol 14bis had been opened for
signature in 2009.
Pending the ratification of Protocol 14 itself, 14bis was devised to allow the
Court to implement revised procedures in respect of the states which have
ratified it. It allowed single judges to reject manifestly inadmissible
applications made against the states who have ratified the protocol. It also
extended the competence of three-judge chambers to declare applications made
against those states admissible and to decide on their merits where there
already is a well-established case law of the Court. Now that all Council of
Europe member states have ratified Protocol 14, Protocol 14bis has lost its raison
d'être and according to its own terms ceased to have any effect when
Protocol 14 entered into force on 1 June 2010.