The (first) Optional Protocol to the Covenant provides States parties to
the Covenant with the option to recognize the additional competence of
the Human Rights Committee to examine communications from individuals.
It allows individuals or groups of individuals who have exhausted local
remedies to petition the Committee directly about alleged violations of
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by their Governments.
Under the Optional Protocol, the Committee's final decisions on the merits are akin to judgements, but are called "Views ". Of the more than 930 registered cases, the Committee has concluded 339 by the adoption of Views, and found violations of the Covenant in 261 of them. As a direct result of the Committee's Views, States parties have commuted death sentences, released prisoners, paid compensation to victims and changed their legislation. The Committee has also established a follow-up procedure and conducts visits to States parties to assist them in the implementation of the Committee's Views.
The Committee's case-law under the Optional Protocol is increasingly quoted
by national and international tribunals and has given rise to considerable
interest in the academic community, since it constitutes the concretization
of human rights in individual cases.
|Entry into force: 23 March 1976
Status as at 15 June 2000: Signatories: 25 Contracting Parties: 95