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Rules of Procedure

The following information is extracted from the “Compilation of Rules of Procedure Adopted by Human Rights Treaty Bodies. Addendum” (HRI/Gen/3/Add.1) 18 April 2002

PART III. Rules of procedure for the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

XVI. PROCEDURES FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED UNDER THE OPTIONAL PROTOCOL

Rule 56
Transmission of communications to the Committee

1. The Secretary-General shall bring to the attention of the Committee, in accordance with the present rules, communications that are, or appear to be, submitted for consideration by the Committee under article 2 of the Optional Protocol.
2. The Secretary-General may request clarification from the author or authors of a communication as to whether she, he or they wish to have the communication submitted to the Committee for consideration under the Optional Protocol. Where there is doubt as to the wish of the author or authors, the Secretary-General will bring the communication to the attention of the Committee.
3. No communication shall be received by the Committee if it:

(a) Concerns a State that is not a party to the Protocol;
(b) Is not in writing;
(c) Is anonymous.


Rule 57
List and register of communications

1. The Secretary-General shall maintain a permanent register of all communicationssubmitted for consideration by the Committee under article 2 of the Optional Protocol.

2. The Secretary-General shall prepare lists of the communications submitted to the Committee, together with a brief summary of their contents.

Rule 58
Request for clarification or additional information

1. The Secretary-General may request clarification from the author of a communication, including:

(a) The name, address, date of birth and occupation of the victim and verification of the victim’s identity;
(b) The name of the State party against which the communication is directed;
(c) The objective of the communication;
(d) The facts of the claim;
(e) Steps taken by the author and/or victim to exhaust domestic remedies;
(f) The extent to which the same matter is being or has been examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement;
(g) The provision or provisions of the Convention alleged to have been violated.

2. When requesting clarification or information, the Secretary-General shall indicate to the author or authors of the communication a time limit within which such information is to be submitted.

3. The Committee may approve a questionnaire to facilitate requests for clarification or information from the victim and/or author of a communication.

4. A request for clarification or information shall not preclude the inclusion of the communication in the list provided for in rule 57 above.

5. The Secretary-General shall inform the author of a communication of the procedure that will be followed and in particular that, provided that the individual or individuals consent to the disclosure of her identity to the State party concerned, the communication will be brought confidentially to the attention of that State party.

Rule 59
Summary of information

1. A summary of the relevant information obtained with respect to each registered communication shall be prepared and circulated to the members of the Committee by the Secretary-General at the next regular session of the Committee.
2. The full text of any communication brought to the attention of the Committee shall be made available to any member of the Committee upon that member’s request.

Rule 60
Inability of a member to take part in the examination of a communication

1. A member of the Committee may not take part in the examination of a communication if:

(a) The member has a personal interest in the case;
(b) The member has participated in the making of any decision on the case covered
by the communication in any capacity other than under the procedures applicable to this
Optional Protocol;
(c) The member is a national of the State party concerned.

2. Any question that may arise under paragraph 1 above shall be decided by the Committee without the participation of the member concerned.

Rule 61
Withdrawal of a member

If, for any reason, a member considers that she or he should not take part or continue to take part in the examination of a communication, the member shall inform the Chairperson of her or his withdrawal.

Rule 62
Establishment of working groups and designation of rapporteurs

1. The Committee may establish one or more working groups, each comprising no more than five of its members, and may designate one or more rapporteurs to make recommendations to the Committee and to assist it in any manner in which the Committee may decide.

2. In the present part of the rules, reference to a working group or rapporteur is a reference to a working group or rapporteur established under the present rules.

3. The rules of procedure of the Committee shall apply as far as possible to the meetings of its working groups.

Rule 63
Interim measures

1. At any time after the receipt of a communication and before a determination on the merits has been reached, the Committee may transmit to the State party concerned, for its urgent consideration, a request that it take such interim measures as the Committee considers necessary to avoid irreparable damage to the victim or victims of the alleged violation.

2. A working group or rapporteur may also request the State party concerned to take such interim measures as the working group or rapporteur considers necessary to avoid irreparable damage to the victim or victims of the alleged violation.

3. When a request for interim measures is made by a working group or rapporteur under the present rule, the working group or rapporteur shall forthwith thereafter inform the Committee members of the nature of the request and the communication to which the request relates.

4. Where the Committee, a working group or a rapporteur requests interim measures under this rule, the request shall state that it does not imply a determination of the merits of the communication.

Rule 64
Method of dealing with communications

1. The Committee shall, by a simple majority and in accordance with the following rules, decide whether the communication is admissible or inadmissible under the Optional Protocol.

2. A working group may also declare that a communication is admissible under the Optional Protocol, provided that it is composed of five members and all of the members so decide.

Rule 65
Order of communications

1. Communications shall be dealt with in the order in which they are received by the Secretariat, unless the Committee or a working group decides otherwise.

2. The Committee may decide to consider two or more communications jointly.

Rule 66
Separate consideration of admissibility and merits

The Committee may decide to consider the question of admissibility of a communication and the merits of a communication separately.

Rule 67
Conditions of admissibility of communications

With a view to reaching a decision on the admissibility of a communication, the
Committee, or a working group, shall apply the criteria set forth in articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Optional Protocol.

Rule 68
Authors of communications

1. Communications may be submitted by individuals or groups of individuals who claim to be victims of violations of the rights set forth in the Convention, or by their designated representatives, or by others on behalf of an alleged victim where the alleged victim consents.

2. In cases where the author can justify such action, communications may be submitted on behalf of an alleged victim without her consent.

3. Where an author seeks to submit a communication in accordance with paragraph 2 of the present rule, she or he shall provide written reasons justifying such action.

Rule 69
Procedures with regard to communications received

1. As soon as possible after the communication has been received, and provided that the individual or group of individuals consent to the disclosure of their identity to the State party concerned, the Committee, working group or rapporteur shall bring the communication confidentially to the attention of the State party and shall request that State party to submit a written reply to the communication.

2. Any request made in accordance with paragraph 1 of the present rule shall include a statement indicating that such a request does not imply that any decision has been reached on the question of admissibility of the communication.

3. Within six months after receipt of the Committee’s request under the present rule, the State party shall submit to the Committee a written explanation or statement that relates to the admissibility of the communication and its merits, as well as to any remedy that may have been provided in the matter.

4. The Committee, working group or rapporteur may request a written explanation or statement that relates only to the admissibility of a communication but, in such cases, the State party may nonetheless submit a written explanation or statement that relates to both the admissibility and the merits of a communication, provided that such written explanation or statement is submitted within six months of the Committee’s request.

5. A State party that has received a request for a written reply in accordance with paragraph 1 of the present rule may submit a request in writing that the communication be rejected as inadmissible, setting out the grounds for such inadmissibility, provided that such a request is submitted to the Committee within two months of the request made under paragraph 1.

6. If the State party concerned disputes the contention of the author or authors, in accordance with article 4, paragraph

1, of the Optional Protocol, that all available domestic remedies have been exhausted, the State party shall give details of the remedies available to the alleged victim or victims in the particular circumstances of the case.

7. Submission by the State party of a request in accordance with paragraph 5 of the present rule shall not affect the period of six months given to the State party to submit its written explanation or statement unless the Committee, working group or rapporteur decides to extend the time for submission for such a period as the Committee considers appropriate.

8. The Committee, working group or rapporteur may request the State party or the author of the communication to submit, within fixed time limits, additional written explanations or statements relevant to the issues of the admissibility or merits of a communication.

9. The Committee, working group or rapporteur shall transmit to each party the submissions made by the other party pursuant to the present rule and shall afford each party an opportunity to comment on those submissions within fixed time limits.

Rule 70
Inadmissible communications

1. Where the Committee decides that a communication is inadmissible, it shall, as soon as possible, communicate its decision and the reasons for that decision through the Secretary-General to the author of the communication and to the State party concerned.

2. A decision of the Committee declaring a communication inadmissible may be reviewed by the Committee upon receipt of a written request submitted by or on behalf of the author or authors of the communication, containing information indicating that the reasons for inadmissibility no longer apply.

3. Any member of the Committee who has participated in the decision regarding admissibility may request that a summary of her or his individual opinion be appended to the Committee’s decision declaring a communication inadmissible.

Rule 71
Additional procedures whereby admissibility may be considered separately from the merits

1. Where the issue of admissibility is decided by the Committee or a working group before the State party’s written explanations or statements on the merits of the communication are received, that decision and all other relevant information shall be submitted through the Secretary-General to the State party concerned. The author of the communication shall, through the Secretary-General, be informed of the decision.

2. The Committee may revoke its decision that a communication is admissible in the light of any explanation or statements submitted by the State party.

Rule 72
Views of the Committee on admissible communications

1. Where the parties have submitted information relating both to the admissibility and to the merits of a communication, or where a decision on admissibility has already been taken and the parties have submitted information on the merits of that communication, the Committee shall consider and shall formulate its views on the communication in the light of all written information made available to it by the author or authors of the communication and the State party concerned, provided that this information has been transmitted to the other party concerned.

2. The Committee or the working group set up by it to consider a communication may, at any time in the course of the examination, obtain through the Secretary-General any documentation from organizations in the United Nations system or other bodies that may assist in the disposal of the communication, provided that the Committee shall afford each party an opportunity to comment on such documentation or information within fixed time limits.

3. The Committee may refer any communication to a working group to make recommendations to the Committee on the merits of the communication.

4. The Committee shall not decide on the merits of the communication without having considered the applicability of all of the admissibility grounds referred to in articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Optional Protocol.

5. The Secretary-General shall transmit the views of the Committee, determined by a simple majority, together with any recommendations, to the author or authors of the communication and to the State party concerned.

6. Any member of the Committee who has participated in the decision may request that a summary of her or his individual opinion be appended to the Committee’s views.

Rule 73
Follow-up to the views of the Committee

1. Within six months of the Committee’s issuing its views on a communication, the State party concerned shall submit to the Committee a written response, including any information on any action taken in the light of the views and recommendations of the Committee.

2. After the six-month period referred to in paragraph 1 of the present rule, the Committee may invite the State party concerned to submit further information about any measures the State party has taken in response to its views or recommendations.

3. The Committee may request the State party to include information on any action taken in response to its views or recommendations in its subsequent reports under article 18 of the Convention.

4. The Committee shall designate for follow-up on views adopted under article 7 of the Optional Protocol a rapporteur or working group to ascertain the measures taken by States parties to give effect to the Committee’s views and recommendations.

5. The rapporteur or working group may make such contacts and take such action as may be appropriate for the due performance of their assigned functions and shall make such recommendations for further action by the Committee as may be necessary.

6. The rapporteur or working group shall report to the Committee on follow-up activities on a regular basis.

7. The Committee shall include information on any follow-up activities in its annual report under article 21 of theConvention.

Rule 74
Confidentiality of communications

1. Communications submitted under the Optional Protocol shall be examined by the
Committee, working group or rapporteur in closed meetings.

2. All working documents prepared by the Secretariat for the Committee, working group or rapporteur, including summaries of communications prepared prior to registration and the list of summaries of communications, shall be confidential unless the Committee decides otherwise.

3. The Committee, working group or rapporteur shall not make public any communication, submissions or information relating to a communication prior to the date on which its views are issued.

4. The author or authors of a communication or the individuals who are alleged to be the victim or victims of a violation of the rights set forth in the Convention may request that the names and identifying details of the alleged victim or victims (or any of them) not be published.

5. If the Committee, working group or rapporteur so decides, the name or names and identifying details of the author or authors of a communication or the individuals who are alleged to be the victim or victims of a violation of rights set forth in the Convention shall not be made public by the Committee, the author or the State party concerned.

6. The Committee, working group or rapporteur may request the author of a communication or the State party concerned to keep confidential the whole or part of any submission or information relating to the proceedings.

7. Subject to paragraphs 5 and 6 of the present rule, nothing in this rule shall affect the right of the author or authors or the State party concerned to make public any submission or information bearing on the proceedings.

8. Subject to paragraphs 5 and 6 of the present rule, the Committee’s decisions on admissibility, merits and discontinuance shall be made public.

9. The Secretariat shall be responsible for the distribution of the Committee’s final decisions to the author or authors and the State party concerned.

10. The Committee shall include in its annual report under article 21 of the Convention a summary of the communications examined and, where appropriate, a summary of the explanations and statements of the States parties concerned, and of its own suggestions and recommendations.

11. Unless the Committee decides otherwise, information furnished by the parties in follow up to the Committee’s views and recommendations under paragraphs 4 and 5 of article 7 of the Optional Protocol shall not be confidential. Unless the Committee decides otherwise, decisions of the Committee with regard to follow-up activities shall not be confidential.

Rule 75
Communiqués

The Committee may issue communiqués regarding its activities under articles 1 to 7 of the Optional Protocol, throughtheSecretary-General, for the use of the information media and the general public.

XVII. PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE INQUIRY PROCEDURE OF THE OPTIONAL PROTOCOL

Rule 76
Applicability

Rules 77 to 90 of the present rules shall not be applied to a State party that, in accordance with article 10, paragraph 1, of the Optional Protocol, declared at the time of ratification or accession to the Optional Protocol that it does not recognize the competence of the Committee as provided for in article 8 thereof, unless that State party has subsequently withdrawn its declaration in accordance with article 10, paragraph 2, of the Optional Protocol.

Rule 77
Transmission of information to the Committee

In accordance with the present rules, the Secretary-General shall bring to the attention of the Committee information that is or appears to be submitted for the Committee’s consideration under article 8, paragraph 1, of the Optional Protocol.

Rule 78
Register of information

The Secretary-General shall maintain a permanent register of information brought to the attention of the Committee in accordance with rule 77 of the present rules and shall make the information available to any member of the Committee upon request.

Rule 79
Summary of information

The Secretary-General, when necessary, shall prepare and circulate to members of the Committee a brief summary of the information submitted in accordance with rule 77 of the present rules.

Rule 80
Confidentiality

1. Except in compliance with the obligations of the Committee under article 12 of the
Optional Protocol, all documents and proceedings of the Committee relating to the conduct of the inquiry under article 8 of the Optional Protocol shall be confidential.

2. Before including a summary of the activities undertaken under articles 8 or 9 of the Optional Protocol in the annual report prepared in accordance with article 21 of the Convention and article 12 of the Optional Protocol, the Committee may consult with the State party concerned with respect to the summary.

Rule 81
Meetings related to proceedings under article 8

Meetings of the Committee during which inquiries under article 8 of the Optional Protocol are considered shall be closed.

Rule 82
Preliminary consideration of information by the Committee

1. The Committee may, through the Secretary-General, ascertain the reliability of the information and/or the sources of the information brought to its attention under article 8 of the Optional Protocol and may obtain additional relevant information substantiating the facts of the situation.

2. The Committee shall determine whether the information received contains reliable information indicating grave or systematic violations of rights set forth in the Convention by the State party concerned.

3. The Committee may request a working group to assist it in carrying out its duties under the present rule.

Rule 83
Examination of information

1. If the Committee is satisfied that the information received is reliable and indicates grave or systematic violations of rights set forth in the Convention by the State party concerned, the Committee shall invite the State party, through the Secretary-General, to submit observations with regard to that information within fixed time limits.

2. The Committee shall take into account any observations that may have been submitted by the State party concerned, as well as any other relevant information.

3. The Committee may decide to obtain additional information from the following:

(a) Representatives of the State party concerned;
(b) Governmental organizations;
(c) Non-governmental organizations;
(d) Individuals.

4. The Committee shall decide the form and manner in which such additional information will be obtained.

5. The Committee may, through the Secretary-General, request any relevant documentation from the United Nations system.

Rule 84
Establishment of an inquiry

1. Taking into account any observations that may have been submitted by the State party concerned, as well as other reliable information, the Committee may designate one or more of its members to conduct an inquiry and to make a report within a fixed time limit.

2. An inquiry shall be conducted confidentially and in accordance with any modalities determined by the Committee.

3. Taking into account the Convention, the Optional Protocol and the present rules of procedure, the membersdesignated by the Committee to conduct the inquiry shall determine their own methods of work.

4. During the period of the inquiry, the Committee may defer the consideration of any report that the State party concerned may have submitted pursuant to article 18 of the Convention.

Rule 85
Cooperation of the State party concerned

1. The Committee shall seek the cooperation of the State party concerned at all stages of an inquiry.

2. The Committee may request the State party concerned to nominate a representative to meet with the member or members designated by the Committee.

3. The Committee may request the State party concerned to provide the member or members designated by the Committee with any information that they or the State party may consider relates to the inquiry.

Rule 86
Visits

1. Where the Committee deems it warranted, the inquiry may include a visit to the territory of the State party concerned.

2. Where the Committee decides, as a part of its inquiry, that there should be a visit to the State party concerned, it shall, through the Secretary-General, request the consent of the State party to such a visit.

3. The Committee shall inform the State party concerned of its wishes regarding the timing of the visit and the facilities required to allow those members designated by the Committee to conduct the inquiry to carry out their task.

Rule 87
Hearings

1. With the consent of the State party concerned, visits may include hearings to enable the designated members of the Committee to determine facts or issues relevant to the inquiry.

2. The conditions and guarantees concerning any hearings held in accordance with paragraph 1 of the present rule shall be established by the designated members of the Committee visiting the State party in connection with an inquiry, and the State party concerned.

3. Any person appearing before the designated members of the Committee for the purpose of giving testimony shall make a solemn declaration as to the veracity of her or his testimony and the confidentiality of the procedure.

4. The Committee shall inform the State party that it shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that individuals under its jurisdiction are not subjected to ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of participating in any hearings in connection with an inquiry or with meeting the designated members of the Committee conducting the inquiry.

Rule 88
Assistance during an inquiry

1. In addition to the staff and facilities that shall be provided by the Secretary-General in connection with an inquiry, including during a visit to the State party concerned, the designated members of the Committee may, through the Secretary-General, invite interpreters and/or such persons with special competence in the fields covered by the Convention as are deemed necessary by the Committee to provide assistance at all stages of the inquiry.

2. Where such interpreters or other persons of special competence are not bound by the oath of allegiance to the United Nations, they shall be required to declare solemnly that they will perform their duties honestly, faithfully andimpartially, and that they will respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.

Rule 89
Transmission of findings, comments or suggestions

1. After examining the findings of the designated members submitted in accordance within rule 84 of the present rules, the Committee shall transmit the findings, through the Secretary-General, to the State party concerned, together with any comments and recommendations.

2. The State party concerned shall submit its observations on the findings, comments and recommendations to the Committee, through the Secretary-General, within six months of their receipt.

Rule 90
Follow-up action by the State party

1. The Committee may, through the Secretary-General, invite a State party that has been the subject of an inquiry to include, in its report under article 18 of the Convention, details of any measures taken in response to the Committee’s findings, comments and recommendations.

2. The Committee may, after the end of the period of six months referred to in paragraph 2 of rule 89 above, invite the State party concerned, through the Secretary-General, to inform it of any measures taken in response to an inquiry.

Rule 91
Obligations under article 11 of the Optional Protocol

1. The Committee shall bring to the attention of the States parties concerned their obligation under article 11 of the Optional Protocol to take appropriate steps to ensure that individuals under their jurisdiction are not subjected to ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of communicating with the Committee under the Optional Protocol.

2. Where the Committee receives reliable information that a State party has breached its obligations under article 11, it may invite the State party concerned to submit written explanations or statements clarifying the matter and describing any action it is taking to ensure that its obligations under article 11 are fulfilled.

 

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