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The European Convention On Human Rights and the Duties of the Individual

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image of Nordic Journal of International Law

It is no doubt a truism to say that the principal aim and object of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is to proclaim, define and safeguard a series of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is probably more controversial to state that individuals within the jurisdiction of Contracting States are entitled de jure to enjoy these rights; that the latter are created »subjectively« (droits »subjectifs«) and not »reflexively« (droits »reflexes«) as favoured by certain dualists; that individuals1) benefit directly (»sujets actifs«) from the standards laid down in the Convention — while still open to discussion, the truth of these statements is generally admitted. Let us simply accept the general view without going into the somewhat intricate problems which arise. If, then, the Contracting States assume obligations in respect not only of one another, but also of the individual, do they require anything of the individual in return? Does he not have international obligations corresponding to his rights?2) If so, what is the extent of these obligations and what are their practical consequences? The existence and extent of the obligations imposed on the individual by the Convention and the sanctions attaching thereto- these are the points which we will endeavour to deal with in turn.


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