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10 - Domestic implementation of international human rights treaties: Nordic and Baltic experiences

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 December 2009

Philip Alston
Affiliation:
New York University
James Crawford
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

Introduction

The domestic status of international human rights norms within various jurisdictions and constitutional settings is an old but continuing issue. Comparative studies, such as those by Andrew Drzemczewski, Søren Stenderup Jensen, or Jörg Polakiewicz and Valérie Jacob-Foltzer explore the subject deeply. These studies deal with the domestic status of one specific human rights treaty, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and discuss only those states that at the time of writing were parties to the ECHR.

The present chapter focuses on the implementation of human rights treaties generally in the Nordic and Baltic countries. It is thus concerned with a certain geographical region (the five Nordic and three Baltic countries) and with the full normative framework of international human rights, not only the two International Covenants of 1966 but also international human rights instruments other than treaties.

Within this overall setting, it proposes to ask whether incorporation of human rights treaties has advantages for the actual protection of human rights within a country. Here, the word ‘incorporation’ is used in a non-technical sense, referring to all methods of treaty implementation through which international treaty provisions become part of domestic law. States very often apply a combination of more than one treaty implementation procedure. The fact that some treaties have formally been incorporated might lead to a general awareness of the relevance of international law and to the use of non-incorporated treaties as well, for instance in judicial reasoning.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2000

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