How is it that a relatively weak international human rights monitoring body, the Human Rights Committee (HRCttee) is adopting, at times, bolder legal interpretations than the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)? And how can the Committee’s traditional aversion to margin of appreciation be reconciled with the fact that it oversees a more diverse group of states than the ECtHR? And why would a country revise its laws following the views of the HRCttee, despite the acceptance of these laws by the ECtHR? This Chapter seeks to provide some answers to these questions through allusion to the different historical and geopolitical context for the operation of the two bodies. In a nutshell, it argues that the ECtHR forms part of a European agenda of regional integration and democratization, and that the HRCttee derives its legitimacy from other sources - especially from the notion of universality of international human rights.
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