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To what extent have international courts and tribunals been successful in upholding human rights?

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Introduction

To what extent have international courts and tribunals been successful in upholding human rights? There are several International bodies that are responsible for upholding Human rights. In this essay I will attempt to examine and analyse the effectiveness of international courts and tribunals in upholding human rights. The first International court is the ICC. The ICC has achieved some limited success with human rights cases, for example the International Criminal Court ruled against Russia?s Human rights abuses in Chechnya. In 2005, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia committed serious abuses, including torture and extra-judicial killing, in Chechnya. The ruling came after the Strasbourg-based court heard claims brought by six Chechens. The judges, who included one Russian, were unanimous in a ruling that is angered the Kremlin. Russia accused the West of hypocrisy and double standards in its criticism of Russia's conduct in Chechnya. It was the first time an international court has found Moscow guilty of serious violations in Chechnya. ...read more.

Middle

Finally, stopping and searching without firm grounds of warranted suspicion were deemed to be illegal in the UK by the ECHR. However there are several limitations to the ECHR. Perhaps the largest being it only has jurisdiction within countries within the EU; furthermore ultimately these states still retain ultimate sovereignty. It also relies on states to make arrests themselves. And so fundamentally the ECHR can only really act as an advisor because it has limited authority and has no real way of enforcing its legal decisions. An example of a case where the ECHR failed to uphold human rights would be the ban on wearing Turkish headscarves in university. Turkey can ban Islamic headscarves in universities, the European Court of Human Rights ruled. The court rejected an appeal by a Turkish woman who argued that the state ban violated her right to an education and discriminated against her. The judges ruled that the ban was justified to maintain order and avoid giving preference to any religion. ...read more.

Conclusion

Arguably the biggest issue regarding International courts and tribunals is that the US is frequently seen as above international law. No US or UK politicians have yet been trialled in regard to war crimes against Afghanistan or Iraq in the 2000s. Furthermore because the courts and tribunals are centred on western ideologies and judicial systems it largely favours western countries. What?s more because of this to some extent the West gets to constitute what is a ?Human Rights abuse?, essentially giving them free reign. And so although international courts and tribunals may achieve limited success in some areas of the world, it fails to address any Human Rights abuses by the west. To conclude, there are a few limited examples of International Courts and Tribunals achieving success. The ECHR however has achieved the most success in upholding human rights as seen in the examples mentioned previously. However it can be argued that all international courts and tribunals are based on western values and thus western states such as the USA dictate what the definition of a human rights abuse is. ...read more.

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