Capellades v Spain, UN Human Rights Committee (2003) (excerpts)

Capellades v Spain, UN Human Rights Committee Communication 1211/2003 (excerpts)


7. On the complaint relating to article 14, paragraph 5, the Committee observes that the author was tried by the highest court in the land because among the others accused in the case were a member of the Senate and a member of the Congress of Deputies, and under Spanish law trials of cases involving two members of Parliament are to be conducted by the Supreme Court. It takes note of the State party's arguments that conviction by the highest court is compatible with the Covenant and that this is a common situation in many States parties to the Covenant. However, article 14, paragraph 5, of the Covenant provides that everyone convicted of a crime shall have the right to his conviction and sentence being reviewed by a higher tribunal according to the law. The Committee considers that the phrase "according to the law" was not intended to mean that the very existence of the right to review should be left to the discretion of the States parties. Although the legislation of the State party provides that under some circumstances a person, by reason of his office, is to be judged by a higher tribunal than would ordinarily be the case, that circumstance cannot of itself detract from the right of an accused to have his conviction and sentence reviewed by a higher tribunal. The Committee therefore concludes that the facts as set forth in the communication represent a violation of article 14, paragraph 5, of the Covenant. (2)