International Human Rights Bodies and the Little-Realized Threat of Fragmentation
14 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2016 Last revised: 7 Mar 2017
Date Written: February 1, 2016
This note discusses the coordination problems encountered by international human rights bodies, who apply comparable legal standards emanating from separate treaties, and confront significant challenges of procedural coordination and normative harmonization. Particular attention will be given in this regard to the policy considerations invoked by such bodies.
The discussion comprises two parts: First, I will discuss the doctrinal tools and theoretical constructs which international human rights bodies have been using in order to mitigate normative clashes with other such bodies. Such tools and constructs may explain the ability of human rights adjudicators to resist normative fragmentation. The second part of this note will address the policy considerations that may explain some of the reasons why international human rights bodies may choose to issue certain decisions which would, nonetheless, clash with decisions of other human rights bodies, and why, in most cases, pursuing normative harmony appears to be preferable to normative fragmentation.
Keywords: international human rights law, international human rights courts, human rights committee, treaty bodies, normative conflicts, fragmentation, systemic integrity, vienna convention on the law of treaties, european court of human rights, inter-american court of human rights, committee on the rights
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