PROTOCOL No. 8
TO THE CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF
HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS
(ETS N 118)
The member States of the Council of Europe, signatories to this Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed at Rome on 4 November 1950 (hereinafter referred to as "the Convention"),
Considering that it is desirable to amend certain provisions of the Convention with a view to improving and in particular to expediting the procedure of the European Commission of Human Rights,
Considering that it is also advisable to amend certain provisions of the Convention concerning the procedure of the European Court of Human Rights,
Have agreed as follows:
The existing text of Article 20 of the Convention shall become paragraph 1 of that Article and shall be supplemented by the following four paragraphs:
"2. The Commission shall sit in plenary session. It may, however, set up Chambers, each composed of at least seven members. The Chambers may examine petitions submitted under Article 25 of this Convention which can be dealt with on the basis of established case law or which raise no serious question affecting the interpretation or application of the Convention. Subject to this restriction and to the provisions of paragraph 5 of this Article, the Chambers shall exercise all the powers conferred on the Commission by the Convention.
The member of the Commission elected in respect of a High Contracting Party against which a petition has been lodged shall have the right to sit on a Chamber to which that petition has been referred.
3. The Commission may set up committees, each composed of at least three members, with the power, exercisable by a unanimous vote, to declare inadmissible or strike from its list of cases a petition submitted under Article 25, when such a decision can be taken without further examination.
4. A Chamber or committee may at any time relinquish jurisdiction in favour of the plenary Commission, which may also order the transfer to it of any petition referred to a Chamber or committee.
5. Only the plenary Commission can exercise the following powers:
a. the examination of applications submitted under Article 24;
b. the bringing of a case before the Court in accordance with Article 48a;
c. the drawing up of rules of procedure in accordance with Article 36."
Article 21 of the Convention shall be supplemented by the following third paragraph:
"3. The candidates shall be of high moral character and must either possess the qualifications required for appointment to high judicial office or be persons of recognised competence in national or international law."
Article 23 of the Convention shall be supplemented by the following sentence:
"During their term of office they shall not hold any position which is incompatible with their independence and impartiality as members of the Commission or the demands of this office."
The text, with modifications, of Article 28 of the Convention shall become paragraph 1 of that Article and the text, with modifications, of Article 30 shall become paragraph 2. The new text of Article 28 shall read as follows:
1. In the event of the Commission accepting a petition referred to it:
a. it shall, with a view to ascertaining the facts, undertake together with the representatives of the parties an examination of the petition and, if need be, an investigation, for the effective conduct of which the States concerned shall furnish all necessary faci
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