Extraterritorial Application of Human Rights Treaties

By F. Coomans, Menno Kamminga

Be as it is the result of the war on terrorism, foreign military intervention, economic globalisation or otherwise, state conduct increasingly affects the human rights of individuals beyond its own borders. This book provides a comprehensive answer to the question whether existing human rights treaties are applicable in such circumstances. The principal treaties on civil and political rights require states to guarantee certain human rights to persons 'within their jurisdiction'. What is the meaning of these terms? Are states able to evade the application of these treaties by detaining their opponents on foreign soil rather than within their own borders? Does it make a difference to the applicability of these treaties, whether a victim of an extraterritorial assassination by state agents, was a detainee, who had not been arrested? By contrast, treaties on economic, social and cultural rights tend to specifically to provide that states must strive for the full realisation of these rights through international co-operation. The problem here is that the precise nature and content of this obligation is unclear. For example, what is the extent of states' obligations to contribute to sustainable development in other states? What are their obligations as members of the executive bodies of international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF? This book focuses on the extraterritorial application of four key human rights treaties: the two UN Covenants on Human Rights and the American and European Conventions on Human Rights. It reveals that supervisory bodies are inconsistent in their implementation of these treaties and discusses the pros and cons of both a restrictive and a non-restrictive approach.

281 pages

Publication Date: 6/30/2004
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9789050953948