The Concept of ‘The State’: Variable Geometry and Dualist Perceptions<sup>*</sup>

Rosalyn Higgins Dbe Qc

in Themes and Theories

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198262350
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682322 | DOI:
The Concept of ‘The State’: Variable Geometry and Dualist Perceptions*

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It is still the case that most international courts and quasi-judicial bodies can deal only with ‘states’. But the acts that states perform, that may engage their international responsibility, are in fact performed by a multitude of state organs. Sometimes, indeed, different organs within a state speak with different voices on matters that have international implications. And sometimes compliance with the findings of international tribunals is made the more difficult exactly because while ‘the state’ carries the international obligation to comply, the necessary action to achieve that must internally be performed by organs of state over whom ‘the state’ may not have constitutional control. This chapter addresses manifestation of this cluster of problems in some recent international case law. The case law of both the United Nations Committee on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights affords interesting examples of judicial or quasi-judicial bodies, whose jurisdiction is concerned with violations of law by sovereign states, but where the acts complained of are those of a component element of the sovereign state concerned.

Keywords: United Nations Committee on Human Rights; European Court of Human Rights; international case law; jurisdiction; states; international courts; quasi-judicial bodies

Chapter.  6302 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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