An applicant non-governmental organization acted as an election observer during the parliamentary election held in Armenia on 25 May 2003 and subsequently applied to the Central Election Committee (CEC) via registered mail requesting copies of documents on the parliamentary elections. The District Court dismissed the applicant organization’s request. The Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation resolved that the organization failed to prove it had sent the request to the CEC. Relying on Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention, the applicant complained that its right to receive and impart information had been violated by the actions of the CEC.
The European Court held that the applicant organization's case was inadmissible as it failed to exhaust domestic remedies as required by Article 35 § 4 of the Convention. Because the applicant organization had not provided adequate evidence about the CEC’s alleged failure to respond to its request for information, its complaint was not examined by the domestic courts on the merits as required for the exhaustion of domestic remedies.
Note: Justice Initiative made a submission to the Court stating that the right of access to information was well-established in both European and international law and practice and access to government information was an integral element of freedom of expression and an actual prerequisite for the meaningful exercise of other political rights in a modern democracy.
Admissibility decision of the Court
Written comments (Open Society Justice Initiative).