Sources of Human Rights Law

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“Sources of Human Rights Law: Custom, Jus Cogens and General Principles” by Brunno Simma and Philip Alston.

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The issue of establishment, authentication and protection of human rights and freedoms is of significant prominence nowadays. The adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of subsequent Covenants in 1948 and 1966 respectively, the establishment of the European Court of Human Rights, Inter American Court of Human Rights and African Court of Human and People’s Rights is an example of a growing States’ involvement in the subject-matter. The world community as a hole is undoubtedly concerned with the human rights violations arising in different parts of the globe and is trying to resolve the problem. But to do so one needs to have defined judicial instruments which can be used to reach the peaceful solution. That’s why having a settled and agreed algorithm of the identification and application of the sources of international law on human rights is so crucial. Brief content

The scope of the present article comprises the problem of the relevance of different sources of international law stated in the Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice (Statute) in their ability to appear as a solid base for regulation of the issues connected with human rights and freedoms. Therefore, authors claim that although in “many situations treaty law (I (a) Article 38 of the Statute) provides solid and compelling legal foundation”, to rely on conventions alone would only do harm to the system of international law in respect to the protection of human rights. The article emphasizes that there is a need for some other source of international law that would do the job. International custom is widely considered to be that source. It has all the prerequisites needed to become a source that would “supply a relatively comprehensive package of norms which are applicable to all States”. Authors give...
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