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Individuals as subjects of international law Are individuals considered subjects of international law?

- Subject of searching analysis by international lawyers and scholars o Classical view: States alone are the subjects of international law, and that individuals can be no more than objects of it. This is because: Only states are able to create international law It is primarily concerned with the rights and duties of states Only states have full procedural capacity before international tribunals o Theory of Monism: Individuals should be regarded as subjects, not merely objects of international law since it is to man that the norms of international law entrusts the responsibilities of law and order o Modern view: Occupying the middle position maintains that States are normally the subjects of international law, individuals have become in some degree subjects of that law - Substantive law: There exists norms conferring rights and duties upon individuals on the international plane by virtue of treaty laws or customary laws of the nations - Procedural law: Individuals remain largely shut out. They have remainedexcept to a limited extent- without power to take independent steps in his own name to enforce his rights. he remains dependent upon states to take up the cudgels for him in order to enforce his rights Do they have access to international tribunals? Since the turn of the century, some developments have taken place showing, in a limited way, that access to international tribunals have been given to individuals. - The Hague Convention provided for international prize court to which nationals of a neutral state might bring their claims against a foreign state - The Treaty of Washington established the Central American Court to which a citizen of a State party might bring claims against State Party - Various peace treaties at the end of WWI dealing with claims of nationals of Allied Powers against those of the members of the Axis Powers - The advisory opinion of the Permanent International Court of Justice dealt a direct blow to the dogma of impenetrable wall separating individuals from international law. The case involved the right of Danzig railway officials asserting directly before the Danzig courts their claims for unpaid compensation against Poland and Danzig City. The Court held that no consideration of theory could prevent individuals from becoming subjects of international law where the Parties to a treaty provided them direct access to the court for the purpose of enforcing his claim International Protection of Human Rights The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaiming many basic rights and freedoms to which every individual is entitled of. - Although there is a debate as to the binding effect of the UDHR, its legal value cannot be doubted. In fact, it has been cited as evidence of customary international law. In the Philippines, the Supreme Court invoked the UDHR in

the case of Borowski v. Commissioner of Immigration and Bureau of Prisons and declared illegal the prolonged detention of an alien. Thus, to transform the fundamental rights into legally binding obligations, the General Assembly adopted two covenants: one covering civil and political rights, and the other economic, social and cultural rights. o Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: The parties are committed to take steps to the maximum of their resources to achieve progressively the full realization of these rights. The machinery for supervision of compliance with the provisions consists of a reporting system. o Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: This defined more specifically and in greater detail the rights enunciated in the UDHR. Some rights covered in the UDHR were not included (e.g., right of asylum) but certain rights not covered are included: self-determination, free disposition of natural resources, right against self-incrimination, etc. Aside from a reportorial system, it has a complaints procedure whereby a party may complain of any non-compliance by another party to the Human Rights Committee, if both parties have recognized its competence. o Special conventions on particular human rights: Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of GenocideParties undertake to prosecute and punish all persons guilty of deliberate destruction of an ethnic, racial or religious group, or of the incitement or conspiracy to commit it. It shall be tried by a competent local tribunal or by an international penal tribunal having jurisdiction. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of racial Discrimination Convention on the Political Rights of Women International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid International Labor Organization has promoted more than 100 conventions since it came into existence UNESCO also had promoted agreements such as UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education

War crimes and crimes against humanity At Nuremberg and other war trials held after WWII, thousands of individuals were tried and convicted for violations of international law by international tribunals set up by the Allied Powers. The International Military Tribunal was established by the United States, Soviet Union, Great Britain and France to try persons charged with: 1. Crimes against peace- planning, initiation and preparation or waging of a war of aggression 2. War crimes- violation of the laws and customs of war (murder, ill-treatment of slave labor, prisoners of war or persons on the seas, plunder of public and private places, wanton destruction of cities)

3. Crimes against humanity- murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts Regional Protection of Human Rights The development of international legal machinery for the protection of human rights demonstrated that individuals are endowed with international legal personality and capable of asserting their rights directly even against States of which they are nationals. The most significant is the creation of enforcement machinery to which individuals who claim to be victim of human rights violations are given access, some of them are established on the regional level. - European Human Rights Convention- signed and adopted by members of the Council of Europe. The significance of it lies not with the substantive rights it guaranteed to individuals (most of them are found in the UDHR and other conventions), but for the legal machinery it effectively established to enforce these rights. It has two organs: (a) Commission of Human Rights- it first receives complaint form states or from any individual, NGO, or group of individuals claiming to be victims of a violation of these rights. It strives to achieve a friendly settlement. Otherwise, it prepares a report stating its opinion as to whether there was really a violation and refers it to the Court; (b) European Court of Human Rights- for a legally binding decision, only states parties have a right to bring cases. Although the individuals cannot bring cases, they are usually the initiators of suits. And once the Commission or a State brings the case, individuals are allowed to have their attorneys appear before the court to argue their cases. - Inter-American Convention on Human Rights: signed and adopted by the members of the Organization of American States, excluding the United States. This convention was modelled after the European Human Rights Convention and has a very similar machinery to enforce the guaranteed rights. It consists of two organs: (a) Inter-American Commission and the InterAmerican Court of Human Rights, which basically performs the same function as to its European counterpart.