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The Legal Status of Normative Pronouncements of Human Rights Treaty Bodies

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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins with a consideration of mandates according to treaty texts, using the rules of interpretation contained in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, noting how these rules have been applied in practice by human rights tribunals. It also identifies the various types of pronouncements the different human rights bodies make. The chapter examines the development over time of the practice of treaty bodies and what these institutions have said about the juridical value of their decisions, comments and views. It undertakes an assessment of the notion of authoritativeness and the degree of deference owed by states to the pronouncements of human rights treaty bodies. In practice, the recommendations, observations, and general comments of human rights treaty bodies have persuasive force insofar as organs retain their independence, deliver reasoned and consistent opinions using accepted methods of treaty interpretation, and establish a pattern of compliance by States Parties.

Keywords:human rights treaty bodies; Vienna Convention



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