Lex Specialis: Oversimplifying a More Complex and Multifaceted Relationship?
Israel Law Review, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 355-395, 2007
41 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2007
From the adoption of the United Nations' Charter, the interplay between international human rights law and international humanitarian law has been subject to many questions to which scholars, judges and institutions still struggle to provide a clear answer. At present, there are a number of divergent stances on the parallel application of the disciplines, but they are generally elusive as to their exact methodology and supporting legal basis. This article argues that a well-coordinated application of international humanitarian law and international human rights law is vital to ensuring adequate protection during armed conflict and the effective implementation of the legal frameworks. It examines the articulation of the relationship between international humanitarian law and international human rights law through the lex specialis model. Considering the theory of lex specialis, this article questions the widely accepted view that this theoretical model, based on the specificity and generality of the law, can clarify the interplay and facilitate the co-application of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. In light of this, it is argued that a new means is needed to clarify the interplay between the disciplines. This article advocates the substitution of the lex specialis principle and development of a more specific methodology to resolve issues linked with the concurrent jurisdiction of the disciplines. It suggests that the theory of lex specialis yields to a different theoretical model based on multiple pre-determined criteria that balance the reality of conflict with the respect of humanity and protection of individuals.
Keywords: Lex Specialis, United Nations Charter, Human rights, International Humanitarian, Armed conflict
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