ICCPR Case Digest




Submission: 2017.07.24

View Adopted: 2022.07.27

S.T. v. Republic of Moldova

Differentiation in treatment to join the Bar Association in Moldova deemed inadmissible

Substantive Issues
  • Effective remedy
  • Non-discrimination
  • Privacy
Relevant Articles
  • Article 17
  • Article 2 - OP1
  • Article 2.1
  • Article 2.3
  • Article 26
Full Text


The author, a Lithuanian national, wished to practice law in Moldova and to apply for membership of the Bar Association in Chisinau, Moldova. He requested the Moldovan Bar Association to clarify the membership requirements and was informed that it was not possible for him to become a member of the Bar, as he did not have Moldovan citizenship. The author lodged a suit against the State party before the court, claiming that the domestic law in this regard was contrary to the article 26 of the Covenant. The court found his claim inadmissible and stated that the matter should be brought before the Constitutional Court. The author challenged the decision before the appeal court, referring to the domestic law provision which limited the number of applicants who can bring a claim before the Constitutional Court, thus making this remedy unavailable for him. His complaint was dismissed. The author claimed to be a victim of a violation by the State party of his rights under articles 2 (3) (remedies), 17 (private life) read alone and in conjunction with article 2 (1), and of article 26 (discrimination) of Covenant.


Regarding the author’s claim that the application before the Constitutional Court in this case did not constitute an effective remedy, the Committee stated that the provisions of article 2 set forth a general obligation for States parties and cannot give rise, when invoked separately, to a claim in a communication under the Optional Protocol, and declared it inadmissible. The Committee further stated that the author had not properly justified his claim under article 17, read alone and in conjunction with article 2 (1) of the Covenant. Finally, the Committee reminded that not every differentiation in treatment based on the grounds listed in article 26 amounted to discrimination. The Committee considered that the author had failed to substantiate that the differentiation in treatment was not based on reasonable and objective criteria and in pursuit of a legitimate aim, taking also into account that the foreign nationals had the legal opportunity to practice law in the State party which the author had not used. The Committee therefore declared the author’s claims under article 26 of the Covenant insufficiently substantiated and thus inadmissible under article 2 of the Optional Protocol.

By: Anna Gorodetskaya

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