Measures derogating from provisions of the covenant must be of a temporary and exceptional nature and strictly required by the exigencies of the situation.
- A fundamental requirement for any measures derogating from the Covenant, as set forth in article 4, paragraph 1, is that such measures are limited to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation. This requirement relates to the duration, geographical coverage and material scope of the state of emergency and any measures of derogation resorted to because of the emergency… Nevertheless, the obligation to limit any derogations to those strictly required by the exigencies of the situation reflects the principle of proportionality which is common to derogation and limitation powers. Moreover, the mere fact that a permissible derogation from a specific provision may, of itself, be justified by the exigencies of the situation does not obviate the requirement that specific measures taken pursuant to the derogation must also be shown to be required by the exigencies of the situation.
- A State party may take measures derogating from its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights pursuant to Article 4 (hereinafter called "derogation measures") only when faced with a situation of exceptional and actual or imminent danger which threatens the life of the nation. A threat to the life of the nation is one that: a.) affects the whole of the population and either the whole or part of the territory of the State, and b.) threatens the physical integrity of the population, the political independence or the territorial integrity of the state or the existence or basic function of institutions indispensable to ensure and project the rights recognized in the Covenant.
- Measures derogating from the provisions of the Covenant must be of an exceptional and temporary nature... the situation must amount to a public emergency which threatens the life of the nation, and the State party must have officially proclaimed a state of emergency…When proclaiming a state of emergency with consequences that could entail derogation from any provision of the Covenant, States must act within their constitutional and other provisions of law that govern such proclamation and the exercise of emergency powers.
- The severity, duration, and geographic scope of any derogation measures shall be such only as are strictly necessary to deal with the threat to the life of the nation and are proportionate to its nature and extent. The competent national authorities shall be under a duty to assess individually the necessity of any derogation measure taken or proposed to deal with the specific dangers posted by the emergency. A measure is not strictly required by the exigencies of the situation where ordinary measures permissible under the specific limitations clauses of the Covenant would be adequate to deal with the threat to the life of the nation.
- Whenever a limitation is required in the terms of the Covenant to be "necessary," this term implies that the limitation: a.) is based on one of the grounds justifying limitations recognized by the relevant article of the Covenant, b.) responds to a pressing public or social need, c.) pursues a legitimate aim, and d.) it is proportionate to that aim.
- A state party availing itself of the right of derogation pursuant to article 4 shall terminate such derogation in the shortest time required to bring an end to the public emergency which threatens the life of the nation.
- Not every disturbance or catastrophe qualifies as a public emergency which threatens the life of the nation, as required by article 4, paragraph 1. During armed conflict, whether international or non-international, rules of international humanitarian law become applicable and help, in addition to the provisions in article 4 and article 5, paragraph 1, of the Covenant, to prevent the abuse of a State’s emergency powers. The Covenant requires that even during an armed conflict measures derogating from the Covenant are allowed only if and to the extent that the situation constitutes a threat to the life of the nation. If States parties consider invoking article 4 in other situations than an armed conflict, they should carefully consider the justification and why such a measure is necessary and legitimate in the circumstances.