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The Impact of Human Rights Law on General International Law$
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Menno T. Kamminga and Martin Scheinin

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199565221

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199565221.001.0001

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Impact on General Principles of Treaty Interpretation

Impact on General Principles of Treaty Interpretation

(p.37) 3 Impact on General Principles of Treaty Interpretation
The Impact of Human Rights Law on General International Law

Jonas Christoffersen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The interpretation of human rights treaties is widely believed to be subject to special rules, deviating from generally accepted interpretative canons of international law. The view is most clearly expressed by the European Court of Human Rights, which claims that in interpreting the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) ‘regard must be had to its special character as a treaty for the collective enforcement of human rights and fundamental freedoms’. This chapter argues that the Court's method of interpretation is firmly rooted within the traditional canons of interpretation of general international law, and that the method of subsidiary review does not deviate substantially from generally accepted methods of review in international law. It suggests that general principles of treaty interpretation have had — and continue to have — tremendous impact on human rights law, whereas human rights law has not had much of an impact on general international law on the methodological plane, although the substance of human rights law — alongside all other branches of international law — will of course be part of the general body of international law.

Keywords:   human rights treaties, human rights law, international law, treaty interpretation, European Convention on Human Rights

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