The European Court of Human Rights can:

1. Examine your complaint about a possible human rights violation

It can do this in states which have signed and ratified the European Convention of Human Rights i.e. in all member states of the Council of Europe, the Slovak Republic being one of them.

2. Require the state to grant you compensation 

If your application is not declared inadmissible, in most cases it happens because all domestic remedies have not been exhausted, the court can determine whether the Slovak authorities have violated your human rights. If the court concludes that there has been a violation of your rights and you have asked for compensation, the Court can require the state to grant you compensation (usually a specific sum of money). The state must comply with the judgments of the Court.  

To receive compensation, you have to ask for it. There are two kinds of damages for which you can ask to be compensated:

Material damages (or pecuniary damages)

Actual loss of money or other property with value. In the case of material damages, you will have to establish the value of your lost property or the sum of money.

Moral damages (or non-pecuniary damages)

Mental suffering because of the human rights violation. In the case of moral damages, you can indicate a sum which you wish to receive, but the final decision on the amount of compensation will be made by the Court.

The European Court of Human Rights cannot:

The court can only carry out those tasks, which it is allowed to do under the European Convention on Human Rights. As an international court, it has very specific functions and it does not have the same power as higher courts in Slovakia. Therefore, it cannot:

  • examine complaints about the actions of private companies and persons
  • revoke or change decisions of courts or state institutions
  • re-examine the evidence of national court cases
  • punish state officials or private individuals
  • examine complaints about violations of European Union law
  • annul or amend Slovakian laws

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education