Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/279864
Title:
A theory of interpretation for international human rights law
Author:
Hessler, Kristen M.
Issue Date:
2001
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
A complete theory of interpretation for human rights law must answer two kinds of questions. First: Who should interpret international human rights law? Second: What principles should guide the interpretation of human rights law? Individual governments frequently claim the right to interpret international law as it applies to them, but this claim is contested by many United Nations subgroups and by nongovernmental organizations like Amnesty International. I argue that international institutions are more likely to give a fair hearing to people's human rights than are their own governments. Accordingly, we can conclude as a general rule that international institutions should be assigned authority to interpret international human rights law. The general rule has an exception, however. Democratic states that protect basic freedoms of speech and assembly will promote and protect their own citizens' human rights better than undemocratic states. Moreover, free democratic states, by giving a voice to all citizens, can take advantage of local knowledge about particular human rights problems and solutions, and so are more likely than international institutions to interpret human rights law with a sensitivity to the human rights of all citizens and to the locally important human rights issues. Therefore, unlike other states, liberal democratic states should have the authority to interpret international human rights law as it applies within their borders. What principles should guide the interpretation of human rights law? The answer depends on whether we take a short- or long-term perspective. Currently, the institutions of international law are relatively ineffective when compared to most domestic legal systems. While this remains the case, a principle allowing interpreters to use their judgment about moral human rights in interpreting human rights law can be justified on the basis of the contribution this would make to global deliberation about the proper understanding of moral human rights. As human rights law develops more effective, less voluntaristic institutions, this principle of interpretation should be phased out.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Philosophy.; Political Science, International Law and Relations.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Philosophy
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Buchanan, Allen

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titleA theory of interpretation for international human rights lawen_US
dc.creatorHessler, Kristen M.en_US
dc.contributor.authorHessler, Kristen M.en_US
dc.date.issued2001en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractA complete theory of interpretation for human rights law must answer two kinds of questions. First: Who should interpret international human rights law? Second: What principles should guide the interpretation of human rights law? Individual governments frequently claim the right to interpret international law as it applies to them, but this claim is contested by many United Nations subgroups and by nongovernmental organizations like Amnesty International. I argue that international institutions are more likely to give a fair hearing to people's human rights than are their own governments. Accordingly, we can conclude as a general rule that international institutions should be assigned authority to interpret international human rights law. The general rule has an exception, however. Democratic states that protect basic freedoms of speech and assembly will promote and protect their own citizens' human rights better than undemocratic states. Moreover, free democratic states, by giving a voice to all citizens, can take advantage of local knowledge about particular human rights problems and solutions, and so are more likely than international institutions to interpret human rights law with a sensitivity to the human rights of all citizens and to the locally important human rights issues. Therefore, unlike other states, liberal democratic states should have the authority to interpret international human rights law as it applies within their borders. What principles should guide the interpretation of human rights law? The answer depends on whether we take a short- or long-term perspective. Currently, the institutions of international law are relatively ineffective when compared to most domestic legal systems. While this remains the case, a principle allowing interpreters to use their judgment about moral human rights in interpreting human rights law can be justified on the basis of the contribution this would make to global deliberation about the proper understanding of moral human rights. As human rights law develops more effective, less voluntaristic institutions, this principle of interpretation should be phased out.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectPhilosophy.en_US
dc.subjectPolitical Science, International Law and Relations.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplinePhilosophyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorBuchanan, Allenen_US
dc.identifier.proquest3031372en_US
dc.identifier.bibrecord.b42286074en_US
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