Interpretation of “Manifestly Ill-Founded”

As a decision on inadmissibility of an application constitutes an anticipated decision that potential violations of Human Rights will not be judged, the classification as “manifestly ill-founded” in the Convention may not permit too wide interpretation, as that might lead to a lack of protection of Human Rights and directly would contradict the goals of the Convention.

The “Practical Guide on Admissibility Criteria” in part “III. Inadmissibility based on the merits” states that manifestly should not be read in the tight sense, but “the expression is to be construed more broadly, in terms of the final outcome” and “will be considered manifestly ill-founded if a preliminary examination of its substance does not disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights guaranteed in the Convention“.

It has to be pointed out that there is a major difference between “not manifestly founded” and “manifestly ill-founded”, which leaves a wide gap where manifest exists neither for founded nor ill-founded. The wording in the guide on admissibility would be acceptable if the wording in the Convention would stipulate inadmissibility based on “not manifestly founded”, but that’s not the case.

Even in the broad sense demanded by the guide on admissibility the characteristic “manifestly ill-founded” can not demand a positive result of a preliminary examination of the substance of the case as base for admissibility. Following principles of plain logic “manifestly” can only be considered to be fulfilled if such preliminary examination can with certainty exclude that a violation of the rights guaranteed in the Convention might exist in the case.

That means that the base of such decision may not be the lack of a proof that rights guaranteed in the Convention have been violated, but only the proof that without doubts such rights have not been violated. Only in the later case the word manifestly can be considered to be fulfilled. Unless the characteristic “ill-founded” has in such way been decided “manifestly” it is the obligation of the court to analyse the merits of the case and deliver a judgment.

If an organisation puts the case-law created by itself above the law (the Convention) the principle of the “rule of law” is abandoned and arbitrariness starts. In that no honorous judge in the ECHR may be interested.