Interpreting Regional Human Rights Treaties

SUR International Journal on Human Rights, Vol. 7, No. 13, pp. 145-169, December 2010

35 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2011

See all articles by Magnus Killander

Magnus Killander

Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

Date Written: September 6, 2011

Abstract

Whether included in national bills of rights or regional or global human rights treaties, human rights are often vague. They require interpretation. The article illustrates how regional human rights tribunals have largely followed the rules for treaty interpretation set out in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. In the interpretation of rights and their limitations the European Court has traditionally put greater emphasis on regional consensus than the Inter-American Court and the African Commission which often look outside their continents to treaties and soft law of the UN and the jurisprudence of other regional tribunals. However, there is a trend towards universalism also in the jurisprudence of the European Court. The article illustrates that the reasoning of the regional tribunals is sometimes inadequate. The quality of the reasoning of the tribunals is important as it provides states and individuals with predictability so that action can be taken to avoid human rights violations. Good reasoning may also help to achieve compliance with the decisions and societal acceptance on controversial issues.

Keywords: Treaty interpretation, Regional human rights systems

Suggested Citation

Killander, Magnus, Interpreting Regional Human Rights Treaties (September 6, 2011). SUR International Journal on Human Rights, Vol. 7, No. 13, pp. 145-169, December 2010 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1923206

Magnus Killander (Contact Author)

Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria ( email )

Pretoria, 0002
South Africa

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