Publication Date

Spring 2006

Document Type



Since it came into force in September, 1953, the European Convention on Human Rights has served as a reflection of Europe's movement toward the establishment of common standards of individual human rights and freedoms. The forty-five countries that are currently signatories to the Convention are subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which was established in 1959 as a mechanism to interpret and enforce the obligations created by the Convention. Although the Convention contains no explicit reference to a right to remain silent, and despite the differing legal systems of the contracting states, the Court has been steadily developing a jurisprudence of self-incrimination from the Convention's Article 6 right to a fair hearing. This Article traces the progress of the Court in creating meaningful protections for the right to silence in the face of state efforts to compel the production of incriminating evidence from individuals charged with criminal offenses. The Court's decisions have produced a carefully balanced doctrinal framework that respects the individual's choice to remain silent without creating an absolute self-incrimination privilege.

Publication Title

Colombia Journal of European Law