of Domestic Remedies
It is a principle of international law that protection of human rights
should be carried out by national governments. National remedies
are viewed as more effective than international ones because they
are easier to access, proceed more quickly and require fewer resources
than making a claim before an international body. Access to international
enforcement mechanisms is seen as a last resort, after the State
has failed to correct the violation or to carry out justice.
Before submitting a complaint to any international body, such as the
United Nations or the European Court of Human Rights, the individual
or NGO must first attempt to remedy the violation using national law.
Exhaustion of domestic remedies requires use of all available procedures
to seek protection from future human rights violations and to obtain
justice for past abuses. Local remedies can range from making a case
in court to lodging a complaint with local police.
A complaint to an international body should include proof that domestic
remedies have been exhausted, including information about any legal
proceedings that took place in the country.
There are limited exceptions to the requirement that domestic remedies
be exhausted. International law recognizes that domestic remedies may
be unavailable, ineffective (i.e. a sham proceeding) or unreasonably
delayed. In these cases, it is not necessary to first address the national
mechanisms if it can be convincingly demonstrated that there are, in
effect, no local remedies available.