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Human rights (European Court of Human Rights)

In a criminal law context, the most important human rights you should think of are:

  • the right to have your case heard within a reasonable time
  • the right to a fair trial by an impartial judge
  • the right to timely access to court documents
  • the right to examine witnesses
  • the right to protection of your privacy

Have your human rights been violated? Would you like to file a complaint about this at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg? Our specialists can help you do so. If so, two conditions must be met in your case; otherwise, the ECHR will not consider your complaint.

First, the violation you consider present must already have formed part of your defence in the Dutch criminal case. After all, it is not possible to complain about a violation for the first time at the ECHR.

Secondly, the human rights defence must have been raised and rejected in the Dutch proceedings up to the highest instance (i.e. up to the Supreme Court); the exception to this rule is the situation where it is already clear in advance due to established national case law that the defence has no chance of success on appeal. Our lawyers can advise you on this.

  • 1

    Only the victim of the human rights violation himself (or his legal representative) has the right to complain to the ECHR.

  • 2

    The complaint must be against a public institution or the government (i.e. not a private company or a citizen).

  • 3

    At the ECHR, only violations of rights under the European Convention on Human Rights can be complained of.

  • 4

    The complaint must be lodged with the Registry of the ECHR within four months after the highest court decision has become final in the Netherlands; that deadline is mandatory!

  • 5

    Whether your complaint to the ECHR has a chance of success is not always easy to determine. Our lawyers will be happy to consult with you if you want to ‘go to Strasbourg’.

Would you like to make an appointment?

Would you like to make an appointment with one of our lawyers? For advice or orientation? We are happy to receive you at our offices in The Hague or Rotterdam or we will come to you.