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The foundations of Europe PDF Εκτύπωση E-mail
Αξιολόγηση Χρήστη: / 13
Συνεννόηση για Δράση - Απόψεις
Συντάχθηκε απο τον/την Χρήστος Μπούμπουλης (Christos Boumpoulis)   
Δευτέρα, 23 Φεβρουάριος 2015 13:20


The foundations of Europe, according to my opinion, are:

  1. The convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms [1]

  2. Democracy [2]

Questionnaire with regard to the European Union:

  • Are the Human Rights and the Fundamental Freedoms effectively protected, within E.U.?

  • Are the Europeans, with no illegitimate exemptions, allowed to exercise, their Human Rights, their Fundamental Freedoms, and their Civil Rights, without having to severely jeopardize, due to external violent consequences against them, their own life or their own freedom and/or their own health?

  • How many of the E.U. member states' political systems are authentically Democratic?

  • How many of the E.U. member states' judicial systems are being effectively protected from becoming degraded to mere instrumental means for promoting illegitimate, economic and/or geostrategic interests?

  • How many of the E.U. Member states' enjoy true National Sovereignty?

It might become beneficial if Europeans could ever understand this simple asymmetry:

  • It takes just few seconds along with a minimum of effort for intentionally destroying an honest and kind human being (this declaration has, only, positive and preventive character).

  • It takes, 1. several hard decades of valuable life time, 2. his own enormous mental and spiritual efforts, 3. many charismatic teachers' enormous spiritual effort, 4. the consumption of significant, both private, as well as, social, material wealth and, 5. enormous bliss, in order to intentionally create just one honest and kind human being.

For the survival of the European Union as an effectively promoting organization of Peace, Freedom, Friendship and frugal prosperity, rescuing the two, above mentioned, basic foundations is not enough. Europeans need also to:

  1. comprehend the crucial asymmetries of life,

  2. stop speaking unwisely,

  3. stop exercising unwise negligence, and

  4. start making prompt and wise choices (like doing, promptly, the right thing).

Note: the photo was found here.



Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

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:

    Article 1 – Obligation to respect human rights

    The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section I of this Convention.

Section I – Rights and freedoms

    • 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.

    • 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:

      1. in defence of any person from unlawful violence;

      2. in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;

      3. in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.

    • 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:

      1. 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;

      2. 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;

      3. any service exacted in case of an emergency or calamity threatening the life or well-being of the community;

      4. 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:

      1. the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court;

      2. 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;

      3. 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;

      4. 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;

      5. 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;

      6. 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 lawful.

    • 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.

    • 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:

      1. to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;

      2. to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;

      3. 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;

      4. 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;

      5. 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 State.

    • 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 executed.

  • Article 2 – Right to life

    Article 3 – Prohibition of torture

    No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    Article 4 – Prohibition of slavery and forced labour

    Article 5 – Right to liberty and security

    Article 6 – Right to a fair trial

    Article 7 – No punishment without law

    Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life

    Article 9 – Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

    Article 10 – Freedom of expression

    Article 11 – Freedom of assembly and association

    Article 12 – Right to marry

    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.

    Article 13 – Right to an effective remedy

    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.

    Article 14 – Prohibition of discrimination

    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.

    Article 15 – Derogation in time of emergency

    Article 16 – Restrictions on political activity of aliens

    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.

    Article 17 – Prohibition of abuse of rights

    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.

    Article 18 – Limitation on use of restrictions on rights

    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.

Section II – European Court of Human Rights

    1. 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.

    2. The judges shall sit on the Court in their individual capacity.

    3. 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.

    1. The judges shall be elected for a period of nine years. They may not be re-elected.

    2. The terms of office of judges shall expire when they reach the age of 70.

    3. The judges shall hold office until replaced. They shall, however, continue to deal with such cases as they already have under consideration.

    4. No judge may be dismissed from office unless the other judges decide by a majority of two-thirds that that judge has ceased to fulfil the required conditions.

    1. The Court shall have a registry, the functions and organisation of which shall be laid down in the rules of the Court.

    2. When sitting in a single-judge formation, the Court shall be assisted by rapporteurs who shall function under the authority of the President of the Court. They shall form part of the Court’s registry.

    1. elect its President and one or two Vice-Presidents for a period of three years; they may be re-elected;

    2. set up Chambers, constituted for a fixed period of time;

    3. elect the Presidents of the Chambers of the Court; they may be re-elected;

    4. adopt the rules of the Court;

    5. elect the Registrar and one or more Deputy Registrars;

    6. make any request under Article 26, paragraph 2.

    1. To consider cases brought before it, the Court shall sit in a single-judge formation, 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 time.

    2. At the request of the plenary Court, the Committee of Ministers may, by a unanimous decision and for a fixed period, reduce to five the number of judges of the Chambers.

    3. When sitting as a single judge, a judge shall not examine any application against the High Contracting Party in respect of which that judge has been elected.

    4. There shall sit as an ex officio member of the Chamber and the Grand Chamber the judge elected in respect of the High Contracting Party concerned. If there is none or if that judge is unable to sit, a person chosen by the President of the Court from a list submitted in advance by that Party shall sit in the capacity of judge.

    5. 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 High Contracting Party concerned.

    1. A single judge may declare inadmissible or strike out of the Court’s list of cases an application submitted under Article 34, where such a decision can be taken without further examination.

    2. The decision shall be final.

    3. If the single judge does not declare an application inadmissible or strike it out, that judge shall forward it to a committee or to a Chamber for further examination.

    1. In respect of an application submitted under Article 34, a committee may, by a unanimous vote,

      1. declare it inadmissible or strike it out of its list of cases, where such decision can be taken without further examination; or

      2. declare it admissible and render at the same time a judgment on the merits, if the underlying question in the case, concerning the interpretation or the application of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, is already the subject of well-established case-law of the Court.

    2. Decisions and judgments under paragraph 1 shall be final.

    3. If the judge elected in respect of the High Contracting Party concerned is not a member of the committee, the committee may at any stage of the proceedings invite that judge to take the place of one of the members of the committee, having regard to all relevant factors, including whether that Party has contested the application of the procedure under paragraph 1.b.

    1. If no decision is taken under Article 27 or 28, or no judgment rendered under Article 28, a Chamber shall decide on the admissibility and merits of individual applications submitted under Article 34. The decision on admissibility may be taken separately.

    2. 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.

    1. 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;

    2. decide on issues referred to the Court by the Committee of Ministers in accordance with Article 46, paragraph 4; and

    3. consider requests for advisory opinions submitted under Article 47.

    1. 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, 46 and 47.

    2. In the event of dispute as to whether the Court has jurisdiction, the Court shall decide.

    1. 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.

    2. The Court shall not deal with any application submitted under Article 34 that

      1. is anonymous; or

      2. 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 information.

    3. The Court shall declare inadmissible any individual application submitted under Article 34 if it considers that :

      1. the application is incompatible with the provisions of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, manifestly ill-founded, or an abuse of the right of individual application; or

      2. the applicant has not suffered a significant disadvantage, unless respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the Protocols thereto requires an examination of the application on the merits and provided that no case may be rejected on this ground which has not been duly considered by a domestic tribunal.

    4. The Court shall reject any application which it considers inadmissible under this Article. It may do so at any stage of the proceedings.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. In all cases before a Chamber or the Grand Chamber, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights may submit written comments and take part in hearings.

    1. 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 conclusion that:

      1. the applicant does not intend to pursue his application; or

      2. the matter has been resolved; or

      3. 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.

    2. The Court may decide to restore an application to its list of cases if it considers that the circumstances justify such a course.

    1. At any stage of the proceedings, the Court may 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.

    2. Proceedings conducted under paragraph 1 shall be confidential.

    3. 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.

    4. This decision shall be transmitted to the Committee of Ministers, which shall supervise the execution of the terms of the friendly settlement as set out in the decision.

    1. Hearings shall be in public unless the Court in exceptional circumstances decides otherwise.

    2. Documents deposited with the Registrar shall be accessible to the public unless the President of the Court decides otherwise.

    1. 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.

    2. 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 importance.

    3. If the panel accepts the request, the Grand Chamber shall decide the case by means of a judgment.

    1. The judgment of the Grand Chamber shall be final.

    2. The judgment of a Chamber shall become final:

      1. when the parties declare that they will not request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber; or

      2. three months after the date of the judgment, if reference of the case to the Grand Chamber has not been requested; or

      3. when the panel of the Grand Chamber rejects the request to refer under Article 43.

    3. The final judgment shall be published.

    1. Reasons shall be given for judgments as well as for decisions declaring applications admissible or inadmissible.

    2. 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 opinion.

    1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties.

    2. The final judgment of the Court shall be transmitted to the Committee of Ministers, which shall supervise its execution.

    3. If the Committee of Ministers considers that the supervision of the execution of a final judgment is hindered by a problem of interpretation of the judgment, it may refer the matter to the Court for a ruling on the question of interpretation. A referral decision shall require a majority vote of two thirds of the representatives entitled to sit on the Committee.

    4. If the Committee of Ministers considers that a High Contracting Party refuses to abide by a final judgment in a case to which it is a party, it may, after serving formal notice on that Party and by decision adopted by a majority vote of two thirds of the representatives entitled to sit on the Committee, refer to the Court the question whether that Party has failed to fulfil its obligation under paragraph 1.

    5. If the Court finds a violation of paragraph 1, it shall refer the case to the Committee of Ministers for consideration of the measures to be taken. If the Court finds no violation of paragraph 1, it shall refer the case to the Committee of Ministers, which shall close its examination of the case.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    1. Reasons shall be given for advisory opinions of the Court.

    2. 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 separate opinion.

    3. Advisory opinions of the Court shall be communicated to the Committee of Ministers.

  • Article 19 – Establishment of the Court

    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.

    Article 20 – Number of judges

    The Court shall consist of a number of judges equal to that of the High Contracting Parties.

    Article 21 – Criteria for office

    Article 22 – Election of judges 1

    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.

    Article 23 – Terms of office and dismissal 2

    Article 24 – Registry and rapporteurs 2

    Article 25 – Plenary Court 2

    The plenary Court shall

    Article 26 – Single-judge formation, committees, Chambers and Grand Chamber 2

    Article 27 – Competence of single judges 3

    Article 28 – Competence of committees 4

    Article 29 – Decisions by Chambers on admissibility and merits 1

    Article 30 – Relinquishment of jurisdiction to the Grand Chamber

    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.

    Article 31 – Powers of the Grand Chamber 1

    The Grand Chamber shall:

    Article 32 – Jurisdiction of the Court 1

    Article 33 – Inter-State cases

    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 Contracting Party.

    Article 34 – Individual applications

    Chart of 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.

    Article 35 – Admissibility criteria 1

    Article 36 – Third party intervention 1

    Article 37 – Striking out applications

    Article 38 – Examination of the case 4

    The Court shall examine the case together with the representatives of the parties and, if need be, undertake an investigation, for the effective conduct of which the High Contracting Parties concerned shall furnish all necessary facilities.

    Article 39 – Friendly settlements 4

    Article 40 – Public hearings and access to documents

    Article 41 – Just satisfaction

    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.

    Article 42 – Judgments of Chambers

    Judgments of Chambers shall become final in accordance with the provisions of Article 44, paragraph 2.

    Article 43 – Referral to the Grand Chamber

    Article 44 – Final judgments

    Article 45 – Reasons for judgments and decisions

    Article 46 – Binding force and execution of judgments 1

    Article 47 – Advisory opinions

    Article 48 – Advisory jurisdiction of the Court

    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 47.

    Article 49 – Reasons for advisory opinions

    Article 50 – Expenditure on the Court

    The expenditure on the Court shall be borne by the Council of Europe.

    Article 51 – Privileges and immunities of judges

    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.

Section III – Miscellaneous provisions

    • 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, subject to paragraph 4 of this Article, extend to all or any of the territories for whose international relations it is responsible.

    • 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.

    • 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 Court to receive applications from individuals, non-governmental organisations or groups of individuals as provided by Article 34 of the Convention.

    • 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 Contracting Parties.

    • 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 conditions.

    • 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 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 European Union may accede to this Convention.

    • 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.

  • Article 52 – Inquiries by the Secretary General

    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.

    Article 53 – Safeguard for existing human rights

    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.

    Article 54 – Powers of the Committee of Ministers

    Nothing in this Convention shall prejudice the powers conferred on the Committee of Ministers by the Statute of the Council of Europe.

    Article 55 – Exclusion of other means of dispute settlement

    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.

    Article 56 – Territorial application

    Article 57 – Reservations

    Article 58 – Denunciation

    Article 59 – Signature and ratification , 1




Democracy is a form of government where citizens participate in government by choosing the government through free and fair elections and the politicians represent their constituents. Democracies ensure active participation of the citizens in politics and civic life.[1] In a democratic society, eligible citizens are able to vote for the passing or rejecting of laws, run for office during elections, join political parties, sit on boards or committees, criticize or protest against the government, and receive a fair trial if accused of breaking the country's laws. Politicians represent their constituents in the proposal, development and establishment of the laws by which their society is run.[citation needed]

The term originates from the Greek δημοκρατία (dēmokratía) "rule of the people",[2] which was found from δῆμος (dêmos) "people" and κράτος (krátos) "power" or "rule" in the 5th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in Greek city-states, notably Athens; the term is an antonym to ἀριστοκρατία (aristokratía) "rule of an elite". While theoretically these definitions are in opposition, in practice the distinction has been blurred historically.[3] The political system of Classical Athens, for example, granted democratic citizenship to an elite class of free men and excluded slaves and women from political participation. In virtually all democratic governments throughout ancient and modern history, democratic citizenship consisted of an elite class until full enfranchisement was won for all adult citizens in most modern democracies through the suffrage movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. The English word dates to the 16th century, from the older Middle French and Middle Latin equivalents.

Democracy contrasts with forms of government where power is either held by an individual, as in an absolute monarchy, or where power is held by a small number of individuals, as in an oligarchy. Nevertheless, these oppositions, inherited from Greek philosophy,[4] are now ambiguous because contemporary governments have mixed democratic, oligarchic, and monarchic elements. Karl Popper defined democracy in contrast to dictatorship or tyranny, thus focusing on opportunities for the people to control their leaders and to oust them without the need for a revolution.[5]

Several variants of democracy exist, but there are two basic forms, both of which concern how the whole body of all eligible citizens executes its will. One form of democracy is direct democracy, in which all eligible citizens have direct and active participation in the political decision making. In most modern democracies, the whole body of eligible citizens remain the sovereign power but political power is exercised indirectly through elected representatives; this is called a representative democracy.


No consensus exists on how to define democracy, but legal equality, political freedom and rule of law have been identified as important characteristics.[6][7] These principles are reflected in all eligible citizens being equal before the law and having equal access to legislative processes. For example, in a representative democracy, every vote has equal weight, no unreasonable restrictions can apply to anyone seeking to become a representative[according to whom?], and the freedom of its eligible citizens is secured by legitimised rights and liberties which are typically protected by a constitution.[8][9]

One theory holds that democracy requires three fundamental principles: 1) upward control, i.e. sovereignty residing at the lowest levels of authority, 2) political equality, and 3) social norms by which individuals and institutions only consider acceptable acts that reflect the first two principles of upward control and political equality.[10]

The term "democracy" is sometimes used as shorthand for liberal democracy, which is a variant of representative democracy that may include elements such as political pluralism; equality before the law; the right to petition elected officials for redress of grievances; due process; civil liberties; human rights; and elements of civil society outside the government.[citation needed] Roger Scruton argues that democracy alone cannot provide personal and political freedom unless the institutions of civil society are also present.[11]

In some countries, notably in the United Kingdom which originated the Westminster system, the dominant principle is that of parliamentary sovereignty, while maintaining judicial independence.[12][13] In the United States, separation of powers is often cited as a central attribute. In India, the world's largest democracy, parliamentary sovereignty is subject to a constitution which includes judicial review.[14] Other uses of "democracy" include that of direct democracy. Though the term "democracy" is typically used in the context of a political state, the principles also are applicable to private organisations.

Majority rule is often listed as a characteristic of democracy. Hence, democracy allows for political minorities to be oppressed by the "tyranny of the majority" in the absence of legal protections of individual or group rights. An essential part of an "ideal" representative democracy is competitive elections that are fair both substantively and procedurally[citation needed]. Furthermore, freedom of political expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press are considered to be essential rights that allow eligible citizens to be adequately informed and able to vote according to their own interests.[15][16]

It has also been suggested that a basic feature of democracy is the capacity of all voters to participate freely and fully in the life of their society.[17] With its emphasis on notions of social contract and the collective will of the all voters, democracy can also be characterised as a form of political collectivism because it is defined as a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in lawmaking.[18]

While representative democracy is sometimes equated with the republican form of government, the term "republic" classically has encompassed both democracies and aristocracies.[19][20] Many democracies are constitutional monarchies, such as the United Kingdom.


Nondemocracies are governments that are not democratic. Examples include totalitarian states, autocracies, despots, autarchies, and dictatorships.[21]


Ancient origins

The term "democracy" first appeared in ancient Greek political and philosophical thought in the city-state of Athens during classical antiquity.[22][23] Led by Cleisthenes, Athenians established what is generally held as the first democracy in 508–507 BC. Cleisthenes is referred to as "the father of Athenian democracy."[24]

Athenian democracy took the form of a direct democracy, and it had two distinguishing features: the random selection of ordinary citizens to fill the few existing government administrative and judicial offices,[25] and a legislative assembly consisting of all Athenian citizens.[26] All eligible citizens were allowed to speak and vote in the assembly, which set the laws of the city state. However, Athenian citizenship excluded women, slaves, foreigners (μέτοικοι métoikoi), non-landowners, and males under 20 years old.

Of the estimated 200,000 to 400,000 inhabitants of Athens, there were between 30,000 and 60,000 citizens.[citation needed] The exclusion of large parts of the population from the citizen body is closely related to the ancient understanding of citizenship. In most of antiquity the benefit of citizenship was tied to the obligation to fight war campaigns.[27]

Athenian democracy was not only direct in the sense that decisions were made by the assembled people, but also the most direct in the sense that the people through the assembly, boule and courts of law controlled the entire political process and a large proportion of citizens were involved constantly in the public business.[28] Even though the rights of the individual were not secured by the Athenian constitution in the modern sense (the ancient Greeks had no word for "rights"[29]), the Athenians enjoyed their liberties not in opposition to the government but by living in a city that was not subject to another power and by not being subjects themselves to the rule of another person.[30]

Range voting appeared in Sparta as early as 700 BC. The Apella was an assembly of the people, held once a month, in which every male citizen of age 30 could participate. In the Apella, Spartans elected leaders and cast votes by range voting and shouting. Aristotle called this "childish," as compared with the stone voting ballots used by the Athenians. Sparta adopted it because of its simplicity, and to prevent any bias voting, buying, or cheating that was predominant in the early democratic elections.[31][32]

Even though the Roman Republic contributed significantly to many aspects of democracy, only a minority of Romans were citizens with votes in elections for representatives. The votes of the powerful were given more weight through a system of gerrymandering, so most high officials, including members of the Senate, came from a few wealthy and noble families.[33] In addition, the Roman Republic was the first government in the western world to have a Republic as a nation-state, although it didn't have much of a democracy. The Romans invented the concept of classics and many works from Ancient Greece were preserved.[34] Additionally, the Roman model of governance inspired many political thinkers over the centuries,[35] and today's modern representative democracies imitate more the Roman than the Greek models because it was a state in which supreme power was held by the people and their elected representatives, and which had an elected or nominated leader.[36] Other cultures, such as the Iroquis Nation in the Americas between around 1450 and 1600 AD also developed a form of democratic society before they came in contact with the Europeans. This indicates that forms of democracy may have been invented in other societies around the world.


Direct democracy

Direct democracy (also known as pure democracy)[1] is a form of democracy in which people decide (e.g. vote on, form consensus on) policy initiatives directly.

Related democratic processes

Direct democracy is similar to, but distinct from representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then decide policy initiatives.[2]

Depending on the particular system in use, direct democracy might entail passing executive decisions, the use of sortition, making laws, directly electing or dismissing officials and conducting trials. Two leading forms of direct democracy are participatory democracy and deliberative democracy.

Most countries that are representative democracies allow for three forms of political action that provide limited direct democracy: referendum (plebiscite), initiative, and recall.

Referendums may include the ability to hold a binding vote on whether a given law should be rejected. This effectively grants the populace which holds suffrage a veto on a law adopted by the elected legislature (one nation to use this system is Switzerland).

Initiatives, usually put forward by members of the general public, compel the consideration of laws (usually in a subsequent referendum) without the consent of the elected representatives, or even against their expressed opposition. Recalls give public the power to remove elected officials from office before the end of their term, although this is very rare in modern democracies.[3]

Writers with anarchist sympathies have argued that direct democracy is opposed to a strong central authority, as decision making power can only reside at one level – with the people themselves or with the central authority.[4] Some of the most important modern thinkers who were inspired by the concept of direct democracy are Cornelius Castoriadis, Hannah Arendt, and Pierre Clastres.

HistoThe earliest known direct democracy is said to be the Athenian democracy in the 5th century BC, although it was not an inclusive democracy: women, foreigners and slaves were excluded from it. The main bodies in the Athenian democracy were the assembly, composed of male citizens; the boulê, composed of 500 citizens; and the law courts, composed of a massive number of jurors chosen by lot, with no judges. There were only about 30,000 male citizens, but several thousand of them were politically active in each year, and many of them quite regularly for years on end. The Athenian democracy was direct not only in the sense that decisions were made by the assembled people, but also in the sense that the people through the assembly, boulê and law courts controlled the entire political process and a large proportion of citizens were involved constantly in the public business.[5] Modern democracies do not resemble the Athenian system.

Also relevant is the history of Ancient Rome, specifically the Roman Republic, beginning around 509 BC.[6] The ancient Roman Republic had a system of citizen lawmaking, or citizen formulation and passage of law, and a citizen veto of legislature-made law. Many historians mark the end of the Republic with the passage of a law named the Lex Titia, 27 November 43 BC.[6] Yet Rome displayed many aspects of democracy, both direct and indirect, from the era of Roman monarchy all the way to the collapse of the Roman Empire. Indeed the Senate, formed in the first days of the city, lasted through the Kingdom, Republic, and Empire, and even continued after the decline of Western Rome; and its structure and regulations continue to influence legislative bodies worldwide.

Modern-era citizen lawmaking began in the towns of Switzerland in the 13th century. In 1847, the Swiss added the "statute referendum" to their national constitution. They soon discovered that merely having the power to veto Parliament's laws was not enough. In 1891, they added the "constitutional amendment initiative". Swiss politics since 1891 have given the world a valuable experience base with the national-level constitutional amendment initiative.[7] In the past 120 years, more than 240 initiatives have been put to referendums. The populace has been conservative, approving only about 10% of these initiatives; in addition, they have often opted for a version of the initiative rewritten by government. (See Direct democracy in Switzerland below.) Another example is the United States, where, despite being a federal republic where no direct democracy exists at the federal level, almost half the states (and many localities) provide for citizen-sponsored ballot initiatives (also called "ballot measures" or "ballot questions") and the vast majority of the states have either initiatives and/or referendums. (See Direct democracy in the United States below.)[citation needed]

Some of the issues surrounding the related notion of a direct democracy using the Internet and other communications technologies are dealt with in e-democracy and below under the term electronic direct democracy. More concisely, the concept of open source governance applies principles of the free software movement to the governance of people, allowing the entire populace to participate in government directly, as much or as little as they please.[8]


Ancient Athens

Athenian democracy developed in the Greek city-state of Athens, comprising the city of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, around 500 BC. Athens was one of the very first known democracies. Other Greek cities set up democracies, and even though most followed an Athenian model, none were as powerful, stable, or well-documented as that of Athens. In the direct democracy of Athens, the citizens did not nominate representatives to vote on legislation and executive bills on their behalf (as in the United States) but instead voted as individuals. Participation was by no means open, but the in-group of participants was constituted with no reference to economic class[citation needed] and they participated on a big scale. The public opinion of voters was influenced by the political satire of the comic poets in the theatres.[9]

Solon (594 BC), Cleisthenes (508-7 BC), and Ephialtes (462 BC) all contributed to the development of Athenian democracy. Historians differ on which of them was responsible for which institution, and which of them most represented a truly democratic movement. It is most usual to date Athenian democracy from Cleisthenes, since Solon's constitution fell and was replaced by the tyranny of Peisistratus, whereas Ephialtes revised Cleisthenes' constitution relatively peacefully. Hipparchus, the brother of the tyrant Hippias, was killed by Harmodius and Aristogeiton, who were subsequently honored by the Athenians for their alleged restoration of Athenian freedom.

The greatest and longest-lasting democratic leader was Pericles; after his death, Athenian democracy was twice briefly interrupted by oligarchic revolution towards the end of the Peloponnesian War. It was modified somewhat after it was restored under Eucleides; the most detailed accounts are of this 4th-century modification rather than of the Periclean system. It was suppressed by the Macedonians in 322 BC. The Athenian institutions were later revived, but the extent to which they were a real democracy is debatable.[10]


Direct democracy only exists in the Swiss cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden and Glarus.[11] The Swiss confederation is a semi-direct democracy (representative democracy with instruments of direct democracy).[11]

Most western countries have representative systems.[11] Switzerland is a rare example of a country with instruments of direct democracy (at the level of the towns, cantons and federal state). Citizens have more power than in a representative democracy. At the federal level, citizens can propose changes to the constitution (federal popular initiative) or ask for a referendum to be held on any law voted by the parliament.[11] Between January 1995 and June 2005, Swiss citizens voted 31 times, on 103 questions. During the same period, French citizens participated in only two referendums.[11]

In Switzerland, simple majorities are sufficient at the town, city, and canton level, but at the federal level double majorities are required on constitutional issues.[7]

A double majority requires approval by a majority of individuals voting, and also by a majority of cantons. Thus in Switzerland a citizen-proposed amendment to the federal Constitution (i.e. initiative) cannot be passed at the federal level if a majority of the people approve but a majority of the cantons disapprove.[7] For referendums or propositions in general terms (like the principle of a general revision of the Constitution), a majority of those voting is sufficient (Swiss constitution, 2005).

In 1890, when the provisions for Swiss national citizen lawmaking were being debated by civil society and government, the Swiss adopted the idea of double majorities from the United States Congress, in which House votes were to represent the people and Senate votes were to represent the states.[7] According to its supporters, this "legitimacy-rich" approach to national citizen lawmaking has been very successful. Kris Kobach claims that Switzerland has had tandem successes both socially and economically which are matched by only a few other nations. Kobach states at the end of his book, "Too often, observers deem Switzerland an oddity among political systems. It is more appropriate to regard it as a pioneer." Finally, the Swiss political system, including its direct democratic devices in a multi-level governance context, becomes increasingly interesting for scholars of European Union integration [12]




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