Human Rights Instruments and Customary Law

Theodor Meron

in Human Rights and Humanitarian Norms as Customary Law

Published in print August 1991 | ISBN: 9780198257455
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681769 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

Human Rights Instruments and Customary Law

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The passage of norms agreed upon in international conferences into customary law through the practice of states constitutes a common, generally accepted method of building customary international law. But an attempt to endow customary law status instantly upon norms agreed upon at international conferences raises serious questions. Some of the consequences of a norm's customary character are equally relevant to human rights instruments. The Geneva Conventions have been universally accepted; in contrast, human rights instruments have been ratified by far fewer states. The dynamic relationship between custom and treaty offers a means for extending human rights. A codificatory treaty is, of course, an embodiment of customary rules and constitutes excellent evidence of their status.

Keywords: customary law; human rights instruments; Geneva Conventions; treaty; international law; codification

Chapter.  24452 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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