Implementation of human rights: strong normative aspirations, weak enforcement

Course leader : Dr Adrienne Komanovic
Home institution: Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
Brief description of the course

There has been a welcome multiplication of human right treates in the last 60-70 years, at universal as well as regional level. Participation in these treaties is generally high. Most human rights treaties created their own monitoring mechanism establishing judicial or quasi-judicial fora. This development, however, has not been matched by a similar progress in the implementation of treaty obligations. International adjudication in the field of human rights faces various challenges, including the inevitably laconic formulation of human rights in the treaties; the weaknesses of the treaty-monitoring bodies and courts in terms of their composition, permanent or temporary character, independence and impartiality; the remedies available for human rights violations, including the oftentimes inapproriateness of monetary compensation; the principle of subsidiarity and, in relation to that, the use of sovereignty as a shield of escaping obligations; and the supervision of the execution of decisions. The course focuses on the major features of international human rights law with specific emphasis on enforcement, delving into both theory and practice, from a legal, and humanities-based perspective. Through lectures, case studies and interactive working groups, participants will gain an understanding of various elements – and their interplay – involved in international human rights law.

Topic list

PART ONE: INTRODUCTION Origins of human rights Classification of human rights Human rights monitoring in general: international standards, national standards, and national application

PART TWO: UNIVERSAL REGIME: NORMATIVE EVOLUTION AND MONITORING Treaty-based machinery Core human rights documents Treaty bodies Enforcement mechanisms Challenges Charter-based machinery Development Human Rights Council, and its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights Universal Periodic Review

PART THREE: EUROPEAN REGIME: NORMATIVE EVOLUTION AND MONITORING European Convention on Human Rights European Social Charter European Convention for the Prevention of Torture: a non-judicial preventive mechanism Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention)

PART FOUR: INSTITUTIONS AND ACTORS Intergovernmental organisations UN Charter-bodies UN treaty bodies International tribunals National authorities Non-State actors Victims of human rights violations

Reading list

Cesare P. R. Romano, Karen J. Alter, and Chrisanthi Avgerou (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication, Oxford 2013 Various chapters, e.g. A. Huneeus, Compliance with Judgments and Decisions E. Voeten, International Judicial Behavior L. R. Helfer, The Effectiveness of International Adjudicators N. Klein, Who Litigates and Why A. von Bogdandy and I. Venzke, The Spell of Precedents: Lawmaking by International Courts and Tribunals L. Swigart and D. Terris, Who are International Judges? K. J. Alter, The Multiplication of International Courts and Tribunals After the End of the Cold War S. T. Ebobrah, International Human Rights Courts D. Shelton (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of International Human Rights Law, Oxford 2013 Various chapters, e.g. M. Kothari, From Commission to the Council: Evolution of UN Charter Bodies N. Rodley, The Role and Impact of Treaty Bodies Cecilia Medina Quiroga, The Role of International Tribunals: Law-Making or Creative Interpretation? C. Heyns and M. Killander, Universality and the Growth of Regional Systems Nisuke Ando, National Implementation and Interpretation D. Weissbrodt, Roles and Responsibilities of Non-State Actors G.L. Neuman, Subsidiarity F. McKay, What Outcomes for Victims?


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