Behind The Veil by Dr. Alexander Goulden

By Dr. Alexander Goulden

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By Dr. Alexander Goulden

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Here are some of the more obvious ones: (1) the imposition of a new set of duties on states (without correlative rights of individuals); (2) the international recognition of group rights (at first blush, this makes sense, given that the Holocaust and other major atrocities in the Second World War were perpetrated against individuals qua members of groups); (3) a modification of international law that lowered the barriers against intervention when states abuse their citizens, thus allowing third parties to aid the oppressed in their efforts to protect themselves from their state; and (4) international efforts (not necessarily utilizing international law), led by powerful democratic states, to encourage states to provide effective domestic constitutional guarantees of basic rights for their citizens.

It is crucial to understand that the basic idea of the system as I have just formulated it is noncommittal on two key issues. First, it does not speak to whether such regulation is to be achieved voluntarily, that is, through the consent of all states subject to it, or otherwise. It may be true that at the founding of the system of international human rights law, there was no practical alternative to reliance on the consent of states, that is, to create this law primarily through the making of treaties.

The Dimensions of the Justification Problem The task of justification would not end if one could make the case that there are good reasons for having a system of international law that serves the well-being and status egalitarian functions, however. It also requires showing that the institutions through which these legal rights are created, interpreted, and implemented are legitimate. 40 Two Justificatory Strategies There are two quite different ways, then, in which one might approach the justification of a particular international legal human right.

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