Dispersal and Coalescence in International Human Rights Law

Rosalyn Higgins Dbe Qc

in Themes and Theories

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198262350
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682322 | DOI:
Dispersal and Coalescence in International Human Rights Law

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This chapter discusses the implications of the growth in the number of bodies applying international human rights law, ranging from treaty monitoring bodies to regional human rights courts to the International Court of Justice. It explores the dispersal of the responsibility for interpreting human rights law and the coalescence around evolving points of law. The bodies applying human rights law fall into two categories: political bodies and judicial and quasi-judicial bodies. A vivid example of the tension between political and judicial spheres is the recent debate over the concept of genocide. In last fifteen years following the mass atrocities in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, we have seen the creation of ad hoc international tribunals with jurisdiction to try the individuals responsible for such crimes. The dispersal of responsibility for interpreting international law — not just human rights law — has led to some concerns in certain circles that we would see the erosion of general international law, the emergence of conflicting jurisprudence, and the rise of forum shopping.

Keywords: International Court of Justice; human rights; international law; genocide; jurisprudence; human rights law; political bodies; quasi-judicial bodies; Rwanda

Chapter.  5265 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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