The role of the human rights committee in interpreting and developing humanitarian law
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University of Pennsylvania journal of international law, Vol. 31, no. 4, Winter 2009, p. 1185-1237
This article reviews the jurisprudence of the Human Rights Committe (HRC). It examines the Committee's general approach to interpreting the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to addressing relevant issues of international law, and to specifically addressing the rules of international humanitarian law. It considers all relevant documents that the HRC has produced including its Decisions and Views, its General Comments, and its Concluding Observations. It synthesizes the methodology and approach taken by the Committee in its three realms. It recommends that in order for the Committee to produce precedential material interpreting international humanitarian law, it must explicitly consider the Geneva Conventions and their Optional Protocols when individual submissions raise issues of international humanitarian law. Under the Optional Protocol to the Civil and Political Covenant, the ultimate findings must be limited to violations of the Covenant itself, but the Committee could provide useful and precedential analysis of international humanitarian obligations in reaching a finding of a Covenant violation.