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Applying Committee Commentary in Treaty Interpretation: The Legal Significance of the Interpretations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child during an Interpretation Process

Enekvist, Veronika LU (2016) JURM02 20161
Department of Law
Abstract
Inevitably, interpreting treaties potentially involve contentious results when the opinions of parties differ. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is no exception. What to include during the process of interpreting the Convention could therefore be controversial. Thus, the legal significance of the interpretative output of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, as understood through principles of public international law, does not have an incontestable answer. Thus, there is reason to be cautious regarding the legal significance of the Committee interpretations.

The significance can be assessed both as a source of law and as a means of interpretation. For either of these concepts to encompass the Committee interpretations,... (More)
Inevitably, interpreting treaties potentially involve contentious results when the opinions of parties differ. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is no exception. What to include during the process of interpreting the Convention could therefore be controversial. Thus, the legal significance of the interpretative output of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, as understood through principles of public international law, does not have an incontestable answer. Thus, there is reason to be cautious regarding the legal significance of the Committee interpretations.

The significance can be assessed both as a source of law and as a means of interpretation. For either of these concepts to encompass the Committee interpretations, quite an extensive understanding of the concepts is required. The provision on subsidiary means of interpretation in the Vienna Convention, on the other hand, is more ambiguous due to the non-exhaustive list permitting several different interpretations regarding what is permissible to include. If custom is deemed to permit Committee interpretations hereunder, or if the provision is viewed less restrictively, the interpretations could be allowed as a subsidiary means of interpretation. The Committee interpretations could also have an auxiliary function and indicate the states parties’ position on subsequent agreements via practice, through the reaction of the parties. Departing from the strictly legal significance, the Committee interpretations can also have secondary influence on the interpretation of the Convention. Such influence derives from inter alia the ability to influence law makers, convince judges or states, or otherwise normatively shift the perception of the Convention. The ability to do so originate from the strength of the argument presented in the Committee interpretations.

This thesis concludes that the arguments that attach legal significance to the Committee interpretations as a means of interpretation require an extensive interpretation of the Vienna Convention. Whether the Committee interpretations can be applied as a subsidiary means of interpretation remains unclear. If the interpretations are instead assessed through their secondary influence, their significance appears dependent on the strength of the argument presented in the interpretations. (Less)
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author
Enekvist, Veronika LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
public international law, human rights law
language
English
id
8874975
date added to LUP
2016-06-16 15:07:07
date last changed
2016-06-16 15:07:07
@misc{8874975,
  abstract     = {Inevitably, interpreting treaties potentially involve contentious results when the opinions of parties differ. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is no exception. What to include during the process of interpreting the Convention could therefore be controversial. Thus, the legal significance of the interpretative output of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, as understood through principles of public international law, does not have an incontestable answer. Thus, there is reason to be cautious regarding the legal significance of the Committee interpretations. 

The significance can be assessed both as a source of law and as a means of interpretation. For either of these concepts to encompass the Committee interpretations, quite an extensive understanding of the concepts is required. The provision on subsidiary means of interpretation in the Vienna Convention, on the other hand, is more ambiguous due to the non-exhaustive list permitting several different interpretations regarding what is permissible to include. If custom is deemed to permit Committee interpretations hereunder, or if the provision is viewed less restrictively, the interpretations could be allowed as a subsidiary means of interpretation. The Committee interpretations could also have an auxiliary function and indicate the states parties’ position on subsequent agreements via practice, through the reaction of the parties. Departing from the strictly legal significance, the Committee interpretations can also have secondary influence on the interpretation of the Convention. Such influence derives from inter alia the ability to influence law makers, convince judges or states, or otherwise normatively shift the perception of the Convention. The ability to do so originate from the strength of the argument presented in the Committee interpretations. 

This thesis concludes that the arguments that attach legal significance to the Committee interpretations as a means of interpretation require an extensive interpretation of the Vienna Convention. Whether the Committee interpretations can be applied as a subsidiary means of interpretation remains unclear. If the interpretations are instead assessed through their secondary influence, their significance appears dependent on the strength of the argument presented in the interpretations.},
  author       = {Enekvist, Veronika},
  keyword      = {public international law,human rights law},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Applying Committee Commentary in Treaty Interpretation: The Legal Significance of the Interpretations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child during an Interpretation Process},
  year         = {2016},
}