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Obligations to respect impose a number of negative obligations , which in most cases may not be subject to progressive realization. These obligations apply fully and immediately and are no different in character than those contained in the civil and political rights. It should be added that like any human rights obligations, this entails the adoption of positive measures to prevent interference with such rights by establishing appropriate institutions, and by providing for an effective system of administration of justice to conduct proper investigations and to provide for remedy and reparation to any violation by State agents.

Nigeria mentioned above , the Court stated that:. The government has destroyed Ogoni houses and villages and then, through its security forces, obstructed, harassed, beaten and, in some cases, shot and killed innocent civilians who have attempted to return to rebuild their ruined homes. These actions constitute massive violations of the right to shelter, in violation of Articles 14, 16 and 18 1 of the African Charter. The obligation to protect requires a State to take measures that prevent third parties from interfering with the enjoyment of a right. The obligation to protect may involve a heightened measure when there is a power imbalance between an individual and a third party, such as in respect of large business enterprises.

This duty is normally achieved through:. This obligation should complement other State activity such as such as regulation and law enforcement. The obligation to protect should in practical terms provide protection against a wide range of conduct, including:. A obligation to fulfil requires a State to take legislative, administrative, budgetary, judicial and other measures towards the full realization of rights, including by means of international assistance and cooperation.

The precise scope and content of the obligation necessarily depends on the particular context, but generally involves establishment by a State of institutional machinery essential for the realization of rights. This can take different forms. As a general rule, States are required to create legal, institutional, administrative, and procedural conditions, as well as to provide material benefit for the realization of certain rights without discrimination.

In other words, States are expected to be proactive agents, capable of increasing access to ESC rights, and ensure the enjoyment of at least a minimum essential level of the rights to all. The obligation to fulfil involves positive action, which means that violations in this area involve State omissions. Greece Complaint No. Human rights obligations generally, including in the area of ESC rights, have extraterritorial application.

The increasing pace of economic globalization has made the discharge of such obligations ever more a critical part of the human rights landscape. This state of affairs impelled the ICJ and University of Maastricht to convene an expert process leading to the elaboration of the Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, [94] these were adopted by a group of international legal experts in with a view to addressing these dimensions of human rights protection.

Leading international legal experts including UN Special Procedures mandate-holders and members of the UN Treaty Bodies, were among the signatories to the principles. In a world of growing interdependencies, a risk of severe protection gaps is presented by traditional conceptions of human rights obligations and responsibilities that tend to consider the territorial State as the main duty-bearer.


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The impact of actors other than the territorial State on the realization of human rights including ESC rights or lack thereof is well known to the human rights movement and poses significant obstacles to legal practitioners at various levels. The Maastricht Principles bridge these gaps by defining obligations of States extraterritorially, indicating what can constitute breaches of these obligations and where State responsibility can be engaged, and by suggesting key elements for remedies in cases of such breaches and violations.

The document builds upon two previous documents of this kind, the Limburg Principles and the Maastricht Guidelines that are referred to in other parts of the present Guide. The Maastricht Principles define State extraterritorial obligations hereafter ETOs to respect, protect and fulfil human rights separately and jointly as comprising:.

International Intergovernmental Organizations Promote International Rule of Law

The Maastricht Principles establish the basis for jurisdiction and responsibility that allow for the operationalization of and the assessment of compliance with ETOs. They must not harm ESC rights of people living in another State; they must protect from harm by third parties the people that they regulate, control or are in a position to influence; and they must contribute to fulfilling ESC rights globally to the maximum of their available resources. A final part of the Maastricht Principles is dedicated to the issue of accountability and remedy for breaches of ETOs. Undoubtedly, these questions are critical to the task of legal practitioners.

National and international human rights accountability mechanisms are often ill-equipped to deal with cases that involve the responsibility of foreign actors, including foreign States and transnational companies, and even less in cases that concern the failure of the community of States in general.

On the other hand, while important, they are not always as effective as judicial mechanisms or administrative mechanisms whose decisions have the force of domestic law, as some states will consider their authority to be merely of a recommendatory character. This area of ESC rights litigation will most probably see important developments in the coming years. In the meantime, academic experts and human rights defenders have started to analyse real and hypothetical situations involving ETOs that could be the subject of adjudication by national and international courts and other adjudicative bodies.

Practitioners who are interested in knowing more about ETOs, the Maastricht Principles and case studies for possible litigation can refer to the following:. For practitioners who want to refer to primary sources and case law rather than just the Principles themselves, see:. Box 91 Geneva 8, Switzerland. Language Switcher en es fr ru.

For practitioners who want to refer to primary sources and case law rather than just the Principles themselves, see: De Schutter, O. Eide, A.

Public International Law: An Introduction - Part 1

Khalfan, A. Orellana, M. Salomon, and I. Kamminga eds. In other words, States should modify the domestic legal order as necessary in order to give effect to their treaty obligations. In implementing the country-specific strategies referred to above, States should set verifiable benchmarks for subsequent national and international monitoring. In this connection, States should consider the adoption of a framework law as a major instrument in the implementation of the national strategy concerning the right to food.

The nature and development of international law

The framework law should include provisions on its purpose; the targets or goals to be achieved and the time-frame to be set for the achievement of those targets; the means by which the purpose could be achieved described in broad terms, in particular the intended collaboration with civil society and the private sector and with international organizations; institutional responsibility for the process; and the national mechanisms for its monitoring, as well as possible recourse procedures.

In developing the benchmarks and framework legislation, States parties should actively involve civil society organizations. Appropriate United Nations programmes and agencies should assist, upon request, in drafting the framework legislation and in reviewing the sectoral legislation. FAO, for example, has considerable expertise and accumulated knowledge concerning legislation in the field of food and agriculture.

What is public international law?

At a minimum, the State party is required to adopt and implement a national educational strategy which includes the provision of secondary, higher and fundamental education in accordance with the Covenant. This strategy should include mechanisms, such as indicators and benchmarks on the right to education, by which progress can be closely monitored.

States parties may find it advantageous to adopt framework legislation to operationalize their right to water strategy. Such legislation should include: a targets or goals to be attained and the time-frame for their achievement; b the means by which the purpose could be achieved; c the intended collaboration with civil society, private sector and international organizations; d institutional responsibility for the process; e national mechanisms for its monitoring; and f remedies and recourse procedures.

2.3.1 State obligations stemming from international law

Among the measures which might be considered appropriate, in addition to legislation, is the provision of judicial remedies with respect to rights which may, in accordance with the national legal system, be considered justiciable. The Committee notes, for example, that the enjoyment of the rights recognized, without discrimination, will often be appropriately promoted, in part, through the provision of judicial or other effective remedies.

Indeed, those States parties which are also parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are already obligated by virtue of arts. In addition, there are a number of other provisions in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including articles 3, 7 a i , 8, 10 3 , 13 2 a , 3 and 4 and 15 3 which would seem to be capable of immediate application by judicial and other organs in many national legal systems.

Any suggestion that the provisions indicated are inherently non-self-executing would seem to be difficult to sustain. Similarly, the Committee underlines the fact that even in times of severe resources constraints whether caused by a process of adjustment, of economic recession, or by other factors the vulnerable members of society can and indeed must be protected by the adoption of relatively low-cost targeted programmes.

The full meaning of the phrase can also be gauged by noting some of the different language versions. Such steps should be deliberate, concrete and targeted as clearly as possible towards meeting the obligations recognized in the Covenant. Part III briefly remarks upon the obligations of actors other than States parties. Each State Party to the present Covenant which, at the time of becoming a Party, has not been able to secure in its metropolitan territory or other territories under its jurisdiction compulsory primary education, free of charge, undertakes, within two years, to work out and adopt a detailed plan of action for the progressive implementation, within a reasonable number of years, to be fixed in the plan, of the principle of compulsory education free of charge for all.


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Its aims are to: develop the role of public international law and bring national viewpoints closer together, share experience and practice through exchanges of views on topical issues, create a framework for international co-operation, and so strengthen the role and influence the development of public international law by bringing legal advisers together to pool their experience, monitor the work done by other international bodies in its areas of competence, and help member states to adopt common standpoints.

The issues examined have included, for instance: state succession and questions of recognition, classification of documents in the field of public international law, the role of depositaries of international treaties, debts of diplomatic missions. The CAHDI is currently studying various other issues, including: immunities of states and international organisations, national implementation measures of UN sanctions and respect for human rights, peaceful settlement of disputes, developments concerning international criminal tribunals and the International Criminal Court.

Most often, we rely—for the comparison, or translation—on the lead categories of our historical, legal and social and cultural research, such as the state, politics, law, and justice, and use those as a tertium comparationis of diachronical or synchronical comparison. But these lead categories have not in every part of the world and in any time corresponded to the same phenomena. Along this line, Shin Kawashima, in his chapter on China, argues that China's understanding of the Wanguo Gongfa in a Chinese context in the second half of the 19th century did not necessarily dovetail with the international community's understanding of international law by the first half of the 20th century.

Additionally, the problem of perspective comes in. Even if we realize the experience, ideologies, myths, and values inscribed in the said lead categories, we inevitably do this within an aura which is itself saturated with meaning, and in which we as scholars have been socialized and trained. Although new psychological research has demonstrated that not only value-judgments, but more generally the subject's way of intellectually grasping and structuring the world seems to be contingent upon culture, 88 these modes of thought and judgement are not fix and determined just as cultures do not have sharp boundaries or fixed identities.

But something might also be gained.

1 Cues from World Public Opinion

We wish briefly to situate the Handbook in the historiographical landscape of international law, and to acknowledge the previous work on which it builds. In a modern sense, the history of international law has been academically treated since the first half of the 19th century. However, much of that history writing was either based on an assumption of linear progress which strikes contemporary observers as almost p. Lawyers, on their part, were generally not very much interested in legal history, and if they were, that history was usually the history of their own law for instance, Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte , of Roman law, or of canon law.

Even today no single chair or university institute is—to p. If the number of scholars turning to historical questions of international law has been small, the circle of scholars who did not only write about particular events such as peace conferences and diplomatic summits, or the creation of a new state but who tried to give a systematic account of the modern history of international law is even smaller. The modern history of international law, according to the author, began at the time of the French invasion of Italy under Charles VIII of France in The author divided the succeeding periods according to the politically dominant power which in his view substantially influenced, or even created, the respective legal order.

This periodization p. A first manuscript of the Epochen was already completed in late , but in the conditions prevailing in Germany in the last months of the war the book could not be printed. However, in a long article published a year earlier Grewe had summarized the principal findings of his as yet unpublished book.

In this form, the book was published in While Grewe's resolute view of the history of international law as a function of great power politics was new, he continued a tradition of writing the history of international law begun in the 19th century. The founders of that tradition had taken the State as they experienced it in their times as a starting point for their historical reflections, and had looked back on the past with that particular form of State in mind.

Grewe revitalized that tradition and even carried it over the edge of a new century. He certainly reinvigorated the study of historical issues in international law, and drew the attention of a new generation of scholars to the discipline. Very differently from Grewe's work, Martti Koskenniemi's The Gentle Civilizer of Nations of , a series of essays covering the period from to , combined p. Koskenniemi challenged the metanarrative of progressive legal development, and emphasized concealed antinomies in international law and the problem of interests and values protected and promoted by international law.

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Public International Law: Sources of International Law

It is therefore unsurprising that, quite recently some new collective works on the history of international law have been published. But, we believe, studying the history of international law can help better to understand the character of that particular legal order, its promise and its limits. If we are not mistaken, we live right now in a period of fundamental change of international relations, a process instigated by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the communist bloc of states, and the end of the Cold War. If the history of international law since the 16th century has been characterized by a global expansion of Western ideas, and with it of Western domination, many signs today suggest that this history is drawing to a close.