Inter-State Complaints

Several of the human rights treaties contain provisions to allow for State parties to complain to the relevant treaty body about alleged violations of the treaty by another State party.

CAT and CMW: Article 21 CAT and article 74 CMW set out a procedure for the relevant Committee itself to consider complaints from one State party which considers that another State party is not giving effect to the provisions of the Convention. This procedure applies only to States parties who have made a declaration accepting the competence of the Committee in this regard.

CERD and CCPR: Articles 11-13 ICERD and articles 41-43 ICCPR set out a more elaborate procedure for the resolution of disputes between States parties over a State's fullfillment of its obligations under the relevant Convention/Covenant through the establishment of an ad hoc Conciliation Commission. The procedure normally applies to all States parties to ICERD, but applies only to States parties to the ICCPR which have made a declaration accepting the competence of the Committee in this regard.

CEDAW, CAT and CMW: Article 29 CEDAW, article 30 CAT and article 92 provide for disputes between States parties concerning interpretation or application of the Convention to be resolved in the first instance by negotiation or, failing that, by arbitration. One of the States involved may refer the dispute to the International Court of Justice if the parties fail to agree arbitration terms within six months. States parties may exclude themselves from this procecedure by making a declaration at the time of ratification or accession, in which case, in accordance with the principle of reciprocity, they are barred from bringing cases against other States parties.