Regional Systems: European and African Human Rights Law (LAW-725-001)

4:30 - 6:20 pm

  • Leo Zwaak
  • Christof Heyns

The course begins with international standards in the field of human rights, including the role of human rights in international law covering such topics as: subjects and sources, state responsibility, reservations, and derogations. This course will review the individual petition system and the mechanisms for supervision of the commitments of the state parties under the European Convention, including: the functioning of the European Court of Human Rights, and the role of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to supervise the enforcement of the judgments of the Court. This course will focus on the role of legal practitioners in the implementation and application of this regional treaty. An in-depth study will be made of human rights litigation in domestic courts and international tribunals. With the help of the European Digest relating to the Strasbourg Case, the course will analyze the interpretation and application of the provisions laid down in the European Convention. In addition, the course will analyze the extent to which norms of international human rights have penetrated areas of criminal law and criminal proceedings, civil and administrative proceedings, family law, and immigration law.

The second part of the course will explore the African regional system for the protection of human rights, developed under the auspices of the African Union (AU) and its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity. It will cover the question of whether there is a unique African concept of human rights; the structures in place for the protection of human rights in Africa, under the AU and its development program, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD); the norms recognized in the various instruments; and the jurisprudence of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.