Introduction: Extraterritorial Scope of Human Rights

In: International Community Law Review
Elżbieta Karska Faculty of Law and Administration, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University Warsaw Poland

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Karol Karski Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Warsaw Poland

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Human rights hold a common general meaning, as the legal understanding of them, both as regards their principles and their specific wording, may be traced to universal values, including inalienable human dignity. It is regarded as a fundamental human right, and at the same time the source of all of the remaining ones. In such a situation we are dealing with a striving towards their extraterritorial application. Said extraterritoriality has many aspects. National courts regard themselves competent to examine cases connected with violations of human rights beyond the borders of the given country. Human rights treaties are applied outside the territories of the states which are parties thereto. Reservations to treaties dealing with these issues, which are to limit their territorial application, give rise to numerous legal controversies. We are also dealing with competition between the responsibility of the territorial state and the state which exercised effective control in the territory of that state or with joint responsibility. In this context, it would seem that the word “effectiveness” is the appropriate key to alleviating doubts as regards the arising of state responsibility.

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