Comparative Regional Human Rights Regimes: Defining a Research Agenda
Forthcoming, ICON, International Journal of Constitutional Law 16(1)
iCourts Working Paper Series No. 115 (2018)
14 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2018
Date Written: January 25, 2018
This article is the theoretical introduction to a special issue which marks a first attempt at a regime-level comparative analysis of the three main regional human rights courts and commissions (the European, Inter-American Court, and the African Courts and Commissions). It does so with the aim of identifying and explaining the convergences and divergences of human rights institutionalization in different regions. The symposium fits within the wider research agenda of “comparative international law” and aims to contribute, particularly, to the comparative study of international human rights law and its institutions. The symposium offers a distinct contribution to comparative international human rights law in three different ways. First, it goes beyond the binary form that is prevalent in comparative human rights law scholarship that most often juxtaposes (selected elements of) the European and Inter-American human rights regimes, and less frequently the African-Inter-American, or African-European human rights regimes. It broadens the inquiry into a triangular analysis, while not foreclosing further future broadening, notably with regard to other emerging regional or subregional human rights regimes. Second, the symposium goes beyond existing scholarship on regional comparison that has been largely descriptive in character, often focusing on identifying either formal textual similarities and differences or similarities or differences with respect to the interpretation of a particular right. The authors in this symposium all take a holistic approach to regional human rights regimes and offer comparisons over time that go both beyond formalist or single-issue analysis, using both legal and extralegal sources. They further seek to not only identify but also explain the divergences and convergences among regional regimes. Third, different from existing scholarship” to “Third, in contrast to existing scholarship on international human rights, we collectively theorize regional human rights regimes as part of a more general global evolution of law and institutions. That is, the symposium is interested in not only the usual markers of comparative law, those of textual and case law analysis, but also how the three key regional human rights courts and commissions are inscribed in a broader development of regional and international law since the aftermath of the World War II.
Keywords: regional human rights, comparative international law, comparative regional human rights law, globalization of law and legal institutions
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