English Version of the Statute of the Arab Court of Human Rights

هذه النسخة غير متوافرة بالعربية

The Council of the League of Arab States, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, adopted during his (142) session, and by his resolution n° 7790, E.A (142) C 3, 07/09/2014, the Statute of the Arab Court of Human Rights.

The Arab Centre for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Education translated this Statute. It is non-official translation.

The statute of the Arab court
of human rights


The States Parties to the present Statute,

Proceeding from their belief in the human dignity as consecrated by God, in order to achieve justice and equality, the rule of law and its role in protecting human rights,

Affirming the purposes and objectives of the Charter of the League of Arab States,

Believing in the human right to a free and dignified life,

Resolving to continue to promote and protect human rights,

Confirming that Arab Conventions on human rights to which relevant States are party, including the Arab Charter on Human Rights, constitute the legal framework for the human being in the Arab States to enjoy and practice his/her rights,

Continuing their efforts to establish justice, which constitutes the corner stone for the establishment of the peace,

Expressing their conviction that the setting up of an Arab Court of Human Rights will help to achieve the purposes and objectives of the Arab Charter on Human Rights,

And based on the Resolution of the Arab League’s Council no.573, E.A. (24), taken at the summit level on 26/3/2013,

Have agreed on the following:



For the purposes of the present Statute, the following words and expressions shall have the following meanings assigned to them, unless the context otherwise requires:

The Court: The Arab Court of Human Rights.

The Charter: The Arab Charter on Human Rights.

The League: The League of Arab States.

The Secretary General: The Secretary - General of the League of Arab States.

The President: The President of the Court.

The Vice President: The Vice-President of the Court.

The Statute: The Statute of the Arab Court of Human Rights.

The States Parties: The States Parties to the present Statute.

The Member States: The Member States of the Arab League.

The Assembly: The States Parties’ Assembly.

The Bylaw: The Bylaw of the Assembly.

The Rules: The Rules of the Court.

The Registrar: The Registrar of the Court.


The Establishment of the Court

An Arab Court of Human Rights shall be established within the framework of the League of Arab States as an independent Arab judicial organ to reinforce the desire of the States Parties to implement their obligations regarding human rights and freedoms. The present Statute and the Rules, shall govern its composition, jurisdiction and method of work.


The Seat

The seat of the Court shall be in Manama city, the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Court may convene on an exceptional basis in any other State with prior consent from the host State.

The Court shall conclude a headquarter agreement with the host State to be approved by the Assembly.


The Assembly

1- An Assembly of the States Parties shall be established, in accordance with the present Statute.

2- Each State Party shall have one representative representing it at the Assembly, the representative can be accompanied by substitutes and advisors.

3- The Assembly shall lay down its internal regulation determining the dates of its meetings, its mandate including the election of Judges, the adoption of the Court’s annual report and the mechanism for the enforcement of judgments.

4- The Assembly shall meet at least once every year, or as decided according to the work requirements and its bylaw.

5- States that are not parties to the Statute can attend the Assembly’s meetings when discussing the Rules of Court without having a right to vote.


The Composition of the Court

The Court shall be constituted of seven Judges who are citizens of the States Parties. They can be increased to eleven Judges if required by the Court and approved by the Assembly. The Court may not include in its primary or reserve membership more than one Judge of the same nationality.


The selection of Judges

1- The Assembly shall elect its Judges by secret ballot from a list comprising the names of candidates.

2- Every State Party, at the request of the Secretary General, within ninety days of the entry into force of the Statue, may nominate two of its nationals as candidates.

3- The candidates referred to in paragraph 1 that receive the highest number of votes shall be selected as primary Judges.

4- If more than one candidate gets an equal number of votes, the voting procedure shall be repeated, while eliminating at every round, candidates who get the least number of votes.

5- The Assembly shall establish a list of reserve judges from among the candidates that were not elected as primary Judges according to the number of votes that they received.


Selection criteria

The candidates should be persons that are known for their integrity and commitment to high moral values, in addition they must possess competence and experience in legal or judicial office. They must also possess the qualifications required for appointment in the highest judicial or legal offices in their countries. Candidates with experience in the field of human rights are preferred.


Judges terms of office

1- Judges shall be elected for a four-year term, and they may be re-elected for a second nonrenewable tenure. Regarding primary Judges that were elected in the first elections, the tenure of three of them shall end after two years. They shall be selected by the drawing of lots by the President of the Assembly - or whoever replaces him - immediately after the completion of the elections.

2- The Judges’ duties shall end with the end of their tenure.

3- The Secretary-General shall circulate - six months before the end of the judges’ tenure - a written memo to the State Parties, requesting every State to name its candidates within the following ninety days. The Secretary-General notifies the States with the list of candidates sixty days before the start of the new Judges’ tenure, and invites the Assembly to convene to elect the new judges within thirty days.


Vacancy in the office of a Judge

1- A Judge’s office is considered to be vacant in the event of death or dismissal or an invalidity that prevents the Judge from exercising his functions on a regular basis. The vacant office shall be filled the soonest possible by election. Nevertheless, in the event of a vacant office occurring six months before the Judge’s mandate comes to an end, no elections shall be held, since it is possible for the President of the Court to designate a Judge from the list of reserve Judges referred to in paragraph 5 of Article six, according to his/her seniority on the list.

2- The Judge wishing to resign shall submit a request to the President. The resignation shall become effective only with the President’s approval and therefore the Assembly shall be notified. If the President wishes to resign he/she shall present, his/her resignation to the Assembly. The resignation shall not take effect until after the Assembly has given its approval.

3- The Judge that has replaced a primary Judge that left office before the end of his/her tenure shall serve the remaining time of that Judge’s tenure, taking into account the provisions of article 5.


The start of tenure and the oath

The Judges tenure shall start with them taking the legal oath before the President of the Assembly, by order of seniority, and in the presence of all Judges, while repeating the following formula: “I swear by Almighty God to perform my duties with integrity, impartiality and independence and to respect the confidentiality of deliberations”.


The Court Presidency

1- The Court shall elect among its members a President and a Vice-President for a term of two years. They are eligible for re-election for one more time only.

2- The President shall manage the Court’s work and represent it before the judicial authorities or third parties, preside its sessions, in addition to the other tasks determined by the Rules of the Court.

3- The President shall exercise his duties on a full time basis, and shall reside in the country hosting the seat of the Court.

4- The Vice President shall replace the President in the event of contingent and temporary absences. In the event of a vacancy of the President’s office, the Court shall elect a new President that shall replace him/her during the remaining term of office.

5- In the event of the President and the Vice-President’s absence, other Judges shall replace them according to the rules of seniority, determined in article 12.


Seniority of judges

1. The seniority of primary judges comes after that of the President and the Vice-President according to the date they assumed office or their age if the date of assumption to office is the same.

2. If two or more judges have the same seniority and age there shall be recourse to the drawing of lots.


The Registrar’s office

The Court shall appoint the Registrar and a sufficient number of employees from among the nationals of States Parties. The Rules of the Court shall determine the way of their appointment.


Privileges and Immunities

1- In discharging their duties, members of the Court shall enjoy the same privileges and immunities granted to representatives of member States to the League of Arab States pursuant to the Privileges and Immunities Convention of the League of Arab States. Their wages and other bonuses shall be exempted from all taxes.

2- The Court’s seat, its buildings, employees and documents shall benefit from the same privileges and immunities granted to the League of Arab States and its employees.


Judges independence and availability

1- The Judges shall exercise their duties with impartiality and independence. They should remain at the Court’s service at all times.

2- Judges may not - in any circumstances whatsoever and at any time even after the end of their tenure - be held accountable for the opinions they have expressed or decisions they have taken during their tenure.

3- Judges may not perform works or activities which might interfere with or affect their impartiality or the requirements of their duty as determined by the Rules of the Court.

4- The Judge may not hear a case that he was previously involved with as an agent, attorney or consultant for one of the parties, or as a member of an internal or international court, of an investigation or arbitration commission, or in any other capacity. In case of doubt, the Court shall have the authority to take a decision in that regard.

5- Judges may not be dismissed or their tenure terminated, unless with the consent of the rest of judges that one of them is not meeting anymore the requirements of his/her position or meets the standards for which he/she has been selected.


The Jurisdiction of the Court

1- The Court shall have jurisdiction over all suits and conflicts resulting from the implementation and interpretation of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, or any other Arab convention in the field of Human Rights involving a member State.

2- The Court shall decide any dispute related to its jurisdiction in examining suits, petitions or cases at hand.


The temporal jurisdiction

The Court may only look into facts that are committed after the entry into force of the Statute with regards to the State in question.


The Admissibility of the case

The jurisdiction of the Court is complementary to the national judiciary and does not supplant it. The Court may not hear a case in the following cases:

1- Non-exhaustion of local remedies in the respondent State by a final and definitive judgment according to the national legal regime.

2- The case with the same subject matter has been filed before another regional human rights court.

3- The case has been filed six months after the notification of the claimant of the definitive judgment.


The right to access the Court

1- The State Party whose citizen claims to be a victim of a human rights violation has the right to access the Court, provided that both the claimant State and the Defendant State are party to this Statute, or they have accepted the jurisdiction of the Court as determined by Article 20 of the Statute.

2- State Parties can accept, when ratifying or acceding to the Statute or at any time later, that one or more NGOs that are accredited and working in the field of human rights in the State whose subject claims to be a victim of a human rights violation has access to the Court.


The acceptance of the jurisdiction of the Court

1- Member States to the League which are not Parties to this Statute shall be able to declare at any time their acceptance of the Court’s jurisdiction, whether in a specific case or in general.

2- The declaration of acceptance can be based on the reciprocity, unconditional or for a limited period.

3- These declarations shall be submitted to the Secretary General while copies shall be sent to States Parties to the present Statute.


Advisory opinions

1- The Court may issue an opinion regarding any legal issue related to the Charter or to any other Arab convention on human rights, based on the request of the League of the Arab State’s Assembly or any of it subsidiary organization or authority.

2- The Court must give the reasons for every consultative opinion it renders. Every Judge is entitled to express his/her opinion independently from that of the Court.


Amicable settlement

1- The Court - at any stage of the suit - shall be able to cooperate with the disputing parties in order to reach an amicable settlement on the basis of human rights principles and values and the rules of justice.

2- Proceedings conducted pursuant to paragraph 1 of this article shall be confidential.

3- If an amicable settlement is reached, the Court shall issue a decision striking the case from the docket; a brief statement of the facts and the solution reached shall be sufficient.

4- The decision referred to in paragraph 3 of this article shall be referred to the Assembly, which shall monitor its execution.


Public hearings and parties’ representation

1- The Court shall hold public hearings, except in the cases it decides otherwise, for the different Parties’ best interest, and in order to guarantee the application of justice, or at the interested Parties’ request.

2- Deliberations of the Court are conducted behind closed doors, in complete confidentiality.

3- The procedures relative to the suit shall be made in writing.

4- All Parties are entitled to have a representative before the Court and have the right to choose the said representative as provided for by the Rules of the Court.

5- The witnesses and the representatives of the Parties shall enjoy legal and material protection as indicated in the Rules of Court, all facilitations shall be provided to them to carry out their role before the Court.


Chambers of the Court

1- Challenges to the Court’s jurisdiction shall be examined by a single Judge.

2- The Court shall convene in chambers comprised of at least three Judges in each chamber to hear the subject matter of disputes.

3- A Judge shall declare every circumstance in which there is a possible conflict of interest with the cases they are examining.

4- A Judge may recuse himself from hearing the case before him if he is a national of a State that is Party to the dispute.


Issuance of judgments

1- The judgments shall be issued in a time limit of sixty days starting from the end of the Court deliberations.

2- If the judgment of the Court is issued with the majority of votes, the dissenting Judge shall be able to record his dissent in an independent sheet attached to the Court’s judgment.

3- Judgments are final and irrevocable, and the Court shall be able to reconsider them in exceptional cases, determined in Article 27.

4- The Court shall have the authority to justify its decision and to decide claims of omission.

5- The Court shall deposit the judgment, including the merits and reasoning of the judgment, before the Registrar within 30 days of its delivery.

6- Judgments shall be read out in open court, and the President of the Court shall notify them to the Parties to the dispute in writing.


Enforcement of judgments

Court’s rulings are enforceable against States Parties to the dispute. They shall be enforced immediately against a State Party, as if they were final judgments rendered by its national judiciary.


Reconsideration petitions

1- The Court shall be able to reconsider its decisions upon a petition submitted by one of the Parties to the dispute within six months from the service of the decision on the concerned Party.

2- The reconsideration petition submitted in respect of the Court’s decision shall be accepted in the following cases:

a) If the judgment includes a breach of an essential procedural rule.

b) If a fact with a decisive impact on the judgment emerges that was unknown at the time of the decision by both the Court and the petitioning Party, provided that the Party’s ignorance of the fact was not a result of negligence on his part.

c) If the judgment does not clarify the reasons on which it is based.

d) If the Court flagrantly exceeds its jurisdiction.

e) If a deceit, fraud or falsification liable to influence the judgment took place.

f) In the event of an influence over a member of the Court that led him to change his opinion in the case.


Rules of the Court

The Court lays down its own rules, and may use experts and specialists to elaborate them and then shall submit it to the Assembly for examination and approval.



1- The Court shall prepare an annual report about its work that includes a list of cases in which judgments were issued and a list of judgments that the Parties did not comply with in their execution.

2- The President of the Court shall submit the report to the Assembly for approval.


Judges bonuses and salaries

The Assembly’s Rules of Procedures sets the salaries, bonuses and indemnities of the Judges, the Registrar and employees, commensurate with their tasks and the requirements relative to their independence and availability.


The Court’s budget

The Court shall establish its own budget, and submits it to the Assembly through the President for approval. The budget is financed by the contributions paid by the States Parties.


Signature Ratification and Accession

1- The Statute shall be opened for signature to Member States immediately upon adoption. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General.

2- State Members my deposit their instruments of accession to the Statute before the Secretary-General.


Entry into force

This Statute shall enter into force after seven of the Member States have ratified it and deposited the instruments of ratification; the Statute shall be operative one year after it has entered into force.

With regards to States that ratified or acceded to the Statute after it came into force, the Statute shall enter into force one year after the deposit of instruments of ratification or accession.


The amendment

It shall be possible to amend the present Statute through the Assembly, upon the initiative of any State member or upon a proposal by the Court. The amendment shall enter into force one month after its ratification by two-thirds of the member States.

It shall become enforceable to every State that ratifies it after its entry into force, one month following it submits its ratification document to the Secretary General.



Each State member shall be able to withdraw from the present Statute by a written notice addressed to the Secretary-General. The withdrawal shall become enforceable one year after the delivery of the withdrawal’s notice.

The State shall not be exempted - because of its withdrawal - from its obligations arising from the Statute while it was a party to it; the withdrawal shall not affect the continuation of the examination of any case pending before the date on which the withdrawal came into effect.

See the decision of the Council of the League of Arab States, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, session (142), n° 7790, E.A (142) C 3, 07/09/2014. Link of the League of Arab States: www.laslaportal.org

Translation by Mrs. Joyce Akiki and two members of Arab Centre for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Education: Mrs. Liliane El-Kazi, Representing of the Arab Centre with Arab East and Mr. Razi Diab. Revised by Pr. Mohammed Amin Al-Midani, President of Arab Centre for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Education, Strasbourg, France.