Civil Rights in International Law: Compliance with Aspects of the "International Bill of Rights"

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Civil Rights in International Law: Compliance with Aspects of the "International Bill of Rights"

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dc.contributor.author Simmons, Beth
dc.date.accessioned 2009-06-02T17:27:25Z
dc.date.issued 2009
dc.identifier.citation Simmons, Beth. 2009. Civil rights in international law: Compliance with aspects of the "International Bill of Rights." Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 16(2): 437-481. en
dc.identifier.issn 1080-0727 en
dc.identifier.uri http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3017500
dc.description.abstract International law has developed what many might consider a constitutional understanding of individual civil rights that individuals can claim vis-a-vis their own governments. This paper discusses the development of aspects of international law relating to civil rights, and argues that if this body of law is meaningful we should see evidence of links between acceptance of international legal obligation and domestic practices. Recognizing that external forms of enforcement of civil rights is unlikely (because not generally in the interest of potential "enforcers"), I argue that international civil rights treaties will have their greatest effect where stakeholders - local citizens - have the motive and the means to demand treaty compliance. This is most likely to be the case not in stable autocracies, where such demands are likely to be crushed, nor in stable democracies, where the motive to mobilize is attenuated due to rights saturation, but in transitional countries where the expected value of mobilization is maximized. Thus, I test the hypothesis that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is likely to have its greatest positive effects in transitional countries - those that have had some fleeting experience with democratic governance. This proposition is tested quantitatively with indicators for freedom of religious practice, fair trials and the death penalty. The proposition is weakly supported by extremely stringent statistical models that control for the endogeneity of the treaty commitments, country and year fixed effects, and other obvious influences on civil rights practices. I conclude that the International Bill of Rights has the power to influence the direction of rights practices in fluid political situations, but cannot magically transform autocracies into liberal guarantors of civil liberties. Still, these effects are important, and the most we can expect from scraps of paper which the international community has been reluctant to enforce. en
dc.description.sponsorship Government en
dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.publisher Indiana University Press en
dc.relation.isversionof http://dx.doi.org/10.2979/GLS.2009.16.2.437 en
dash.license OAP
dc.title Civil Rights in International Law: Compliance with Aspects of the "International Bill of Rights" en
dc.relation.journal Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies en
dash.depositing.author Simmons, Beth

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  • FAS Scholarly Articles [7262]
    Peer reviewed scholarly articles from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University

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