Academic Year 2009-2010
David Kretzmer, LL.B, LL.M (Jerusalem), Dr. Jur. (York, Canada), Dr. Jur. h.c. (Potsdam), is Professor Emeritus of International Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Professor of Law at the Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster and the Academic Centre for Law and Business, Ramat Gan. From 1995-2002 he was a member of the UN Human Rights Committee under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, serving as vice-chairperson in 2001 and 2002. Kretzmer's main fields of research are constitutional law, human rights and international humanitarian law. His books include The Occupation of Justice: The Supreme Court of Israel and the Occupied Territories (SUNY Press, 2002); The Concept of Human Dignity in Human Rights Discourse (edited together with E. Klein) (Kluwer International, 2002) and The Legal Status of the Arabs in Israel (2nd edition (Arabic), 2002). More about David Kretzmer
The UN Human Rights Committee and International Human Rights Monitoring
The attempt to "internationalize" protection of human rights had to grapple with three fundamental issues:
- Adoption of internationally recognized human rights standards;
- Monitoring of state compliance with these standards;
- Enforcement of the standards in cases of non-compliance.
There has been enormous and impressive advancement on the first issue. Alongside the two International Covenants, which were adopted in 1966 and came into force ten years later, a wide range of international human rights conventions have been adopted. On the other two issues the advancement has been far less impressive. There is still a wide deficiency gap in monitoring and enforcement, which largely reflects weaknesses in the international system. States seem fairly happy to subscribe to lofty international standards of human rights so long as they are not called to task for failing to comply with them.
International monitoring of human rights compliance is carried out on two levels: by political bodies, foremost amongst which are the defunct UN Commission on Human Rights Commission and its successor, the Human Rights Council; and by the more professional treaty bodies. The most prominent amongst the latter is the Human Rights Committee, which monitors compliance by states with their obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
David Kretzmer’s research agenda relates to both levels of international monitoring. During his stay at the Straus Institute he will be concentrating on the work of the Human Rights Committee. This research, which is part of a project to be carried out in collaboration with Professor Eckart Klein of Potsdam University, will include an historical study of the Committee, showing how its work changed radically after the Cold War ended, and a critical evaluation of the Committee’s role in international human rights monitoring and enforcement.