Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Research Handbooks in Human Rights series

Edited by Robert Kolb and Gloria Gaggioli

This fascinating Handbook explores the interplay between international human rights law and international humanitarian law, offering expert analysis on the increasingly complex issues surrounding their application in conflict areas across the world.

Chapter 25: A new World Court of Human Rights: a role for international humanitarian law?

Manfred Nowak

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, public international law, politics and public policy, human rights, terrorism and security


On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Swiss Government presented an ‘Agenda for Human Rights’. In addition to a number of substantive recommendations for improving the enjoyment and implementation of human rights in the 21st century, the Swiss Agenda includes two institutional proposals: the establishment of a Global Fund for National Human Rights Protection Systems and of a World Court of Human Rights. The Swiss Agenda is based on a report by a ‘Panel of Eminent Persons’ chaired jointly by Mary Robinson and Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro. This report devotes one chapter to arguing for the need for a World Court of Human Rights. It concludes as follows: The World Court of Human Rights should be a permanent court established by a multilateral treaty under the auspices of the United Nations. It should be competent to decide in a final and binding manner on complaints of human rights violations committed by state and non-state actors alike and provide adequate reparation to victims. The United Nations Secretary-General is requested to commission an expert study on ways to advance towards the establishment of a World Court of Human Rights. The Panel of Eminent Persons has not ceased to exist with the publication and formal promulgation of the Swiss Agenda for Human Rights in December 2008. As the term ‘progress report’ indicates, the Swiss Agenda itself is an ongoing project aimed at convincing governments around the world, global civil society and the United Nations of the urgent need

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