The member States of the Council of Europe, signatory hereto,
Having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms, signed at Rome on 4th November 1950 (hereinafter referred to as
Considering that it is expedient for the better fulfilment of the purposes of the
Convention that persons taking part in proceedings before the European Commission of Human
Rights (hereinafter referred to as "the Commission") or the European Court of
Human Rights (hereinafter referred to as "the Court") shall be accorded certain
immunities and facilities;
Desiring to conclude an Agreement for this purpose,
Have agreed as follows:
- The persons to whom this Agreement applies are:
- agents of the Contracting Parties and advisers and advocates assisting them;
- persons taking part in proceedings instituted before the Commission under Article 25 of
the Convention, whether in their own name or as representatives of one of the applicants
enumerated in the said Article 25;
- barristers, solicitors or professors of law, taking part in proceedings in order to
assist one of the persons enumerated in sub-paragraph b above;
- persons chosen by the delegates of the Commission to assist them in proceedings before
- witnesses, experts and other persons called upon by the Commission or the Court to take
part in proceedings before the Commission or the Court.
- For the purposes of this Agreement, the terms "Commission" and
"Court" shall include a Sub-Commission or Chamber, or members of either body
carrying out their duties under the terms of the Convention or of the rules of the
Commission or of the Court, as the case may be; and the term "taking part in
proceedings" shall include making communications with a view to a complaint against a
State which has recognised the right of individual petition under Article 25 of the
- If, in the course of the exercise by the Committee of Ministers of its functions under
Article 32 of the Convention, any person mentioned in paragraph 1 of this article is
called upon to appear before, or to submit written statements to the Committee of
Ministers, the provisions of this Agreement shall apply in relation to him.
- The persons referred to in paragraph 1 of Article 1 of this Agreement shall have
immunity from legal process in respect of oral or written statements made, or documents or
other evidence submitted by them before or to the Commission or the Court.
- This immunity does not apply to the communication, outside the Commission or the Court,
by or on behalf of any person entitled to immunity under the preceding paragraph, of any
such statements, documents or evidence or any part thereof submitted by that person to the
Commission or the Court.
- The Contracting Parties shall respect the right of the persons referred to in paragraph
1 of Article 1 of this Agreement to correspond freely with the Commission and the Court.
- As regards persons under detention, the exercise of this right shall in particular imply
- if their correspondence is examined by the competent authorities, its despatch and
delivery shall nevertheless take place without undue delay and without alteration;
- such persons shall not be subject to disciplinary measures in any form on account of any
communication sent through the proper channels to the Commission or the Court;
- such persons shall have the right to correspond, and consult out of hearing of other
persons, with a lawyer qualified to appear before the courts of the country where they are
detained in regard to an application to the Commission, or any proceedings resulting
- In application of the preceding paragraphs, there shall be no interference by a public
authority except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic
society in the interests of national security, for the detection or prosecution of a
criminal offence or for the protection of health.
- The Contracting Parties undertake not to hinder the free movement and travel, for the
purpose of attending and returning from proceedings before the Commission or the Court, of
persons referred to in paragraph 1 of Article 1 of this Agreement whose presence has in
advance been authorised by the Commission or the Court.
- No restrictions shall be placed on their movement and travel other than such as are in
accordance with the law and necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national
security or public safety, for the maintenance of ordre public, for the prevention of
crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and
freedoms of others.
- Such persons shall not, in countries of transit and in the country where the proceedings
take place, be prosecuted or detained or be subjected to any other restriction of their
personal liberty in respect of acts or convictions prior to the commencement of the
- Any Contracting Party may at the time of signature or ratification of this Agreement
declare that the provisions of this paragraph will not apply to its own nationals. Such a
declaration may be withdrawn at any time by means of a notification addressed to the
Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- The Contracting Parties undertake to re-admit on his return to their territory any such
person who commenced his journey in the said territory.
- The provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 of this article shall cease to apply when the
person concerned has had for a period of 15 consecutive days from the date when his
presence is no longer required by the Commission or the Court the opportunity of returning
to the country from which his journey commenced.
- Where there is any conflict between the obligations of a Contracting Party resulting
from paragraph 2 of this article and those resulting from a Council of Europe Convention
or from an extradition treaty or other treaty concerning mutual assistance in criminal
matters with other Contracting Parties, the provisions of paragraph 2 of this article
- Immunities and facilities are accorded to the persons referred to in paragraph 1 of
Article 1 of this Agreement solely in order to ensure for them the freedom of speech and
the independence necessary for the discharge of their functions, tasks or duties, or the
exercise of their rights in relation to the Commission and the Court.
- The Commission or the Court, as the case may be, shall alone be competent to waive, in
whole or in part, the immunity provided for in paragraph 1 of Article 2 of this Agreement;
they have not only the right but the duty to waive immunity in any case where, in their
opinion, such immunity would impede the course of justice and waiver in whole or in part
would not prejudice the purpose defined in paragraph 1 of this article.
- The immunity may be waived by the Commission or by the Court, either ex officio or at
the request, addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, of any
Contracting Party or of any person concerned.
- Decisions waiving immunity or refusing the waiver shall be accompanied by a statement of
- If a Contracting Party certifies that waiver of the immunity provided for in paragraph 1
of Article 2 of this Agreement is necessary for the purpose of proceedings in respect of
an offence against national security, the Commission or the Court shall waive immunity to
the extent specified in the certificate.
- In the event of the discovery of a fact which might, by its nature, have a decisive
influence and which at the time of the decision refusing waiver of immunity was unknown to
the author of the request, the latter may make a new request to the Commission or the
Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as limiting or derogating from any of the
obligations assumed by the Contracting Parties under the Convention.
- This Agreement shall be open to signature by the member States of the Council of Europe,
who may become Parties to it either by:
- signature without reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance, or
- signature with reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance, followed by
ratification or acceptance.
- Instruments of ratification or acceptance shall be deposited with the Secretary General
of the Council of Europe.
- This Agreement shall enter into force one month after the date on which five member
States of the Council shall have become Parties to the Agreement, in accordance with the
provisions of Article 7.
- As regards any member States who shall subsequently sign the Agreement without
reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance or who shall ratify or accept it, the
Agreement shall enter into force one month after the date of such signature or after the
date of deposit of the instrument of ratification or acceptance.
- Any Contracting Party may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of
ratification or acceptance, specify the territory or territories to which this Agreement
- Any Contracting Party may, when depositing its instrument of ratification or acceptance
or at any later date, by declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of
Europe, extend this Agreement to any other territory or territories specified in the
declaration and for whose international relations it is responsible or on whose behalf it
is authorised to give undertakings.
- Any declaration made in pursuance of the preceding paragraph may, in respect of any
territory mentioned in such declaration, be withdrawn according to the procedure laid down
in Article 10 of this Agreement.
- This Agreement shall remain in force indefinitely.
- Any Contracting Party may, insofar as it is concerned, denounce this Agreement by means
of a notification addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- Such denunciation shall take effect six months after the date of receipt by the
Secretary General of such notification. Such a denunciation shall not have the effect of
releasing the Contracting Parties concerned from any obligation which may have arisen
under this Agreement in relation to any person referred to in paragraph 1 of Article 1.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall notify the member States of the
- any signature without reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance;
- any signature with reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance;
- the deposit of any instrument of ratification or acceptance;
- any date or entry into force of this Agreement in accordance with Article 8 thereof;
- any declaration received in pursuance of the provisions of paragraph 2 of Article 4 and
of paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 9;
- any notification of withdrawal of a declaration in pursuance of the provisions of
paragraph 2 of Article 4 and any notification received in pursuance of the provisions of
Article 10 and the date on which any denunciation takes effect.
In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto, have signed this
Done at London, this 6th day of May 1969, in the English and French languages, both texts
being equally authoritative, in a single copy which shall remain deposited in the archives
of the Council of Europe. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall transmit
certified copies to each of the signatory States.