International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

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Foreign Surveillance and Human Rights, Part 2: Interpreting the ICCPR

This post is part of a series: Intro, Part 1, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. Comparing the ICCPR and the ECHR The scope of many human rights treaties is at least partly determined by how we interpret their jurisdiction clauses, and here we can observe some important differences. I will limit myself in this analysis in looking solely at the ICCPR and the ECHR, the former because most states engaging in overseas surveillance will be parties to it (like the US), the latter because of the relative strength and influence of its enforcement mechanisms and the European Court of Human Rights’ extensive (and conflicting) jurisprudence on questions of territorial application. Article 2(1) ICCPR provides that ‘[e]ach State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant,’ whereas Article 1 ECHR stipulates that the ‘High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their…

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Foreign Surveillance and Human Rights, Part 1: Do Foreigners Deserve Privacy?

This post is part of a series: Intro, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. One robust feature of US legal discourse is an emphasis on citizenship as a basis for fundamental rights. This is true not only of case law (viz. the US Supreme Court’s holding in…

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Foreign Surveillance and Human Rights: Introduction

The past few weeks have seen increasing discussions of how human rights treaties might apply to mass electronic surveillance programs as run e.g. by the NSA and GCHQ or the agencies of the other ‘Five Eyes’ countries. Indeed, the already is or soon will be pending litigation challenging the compatibility of these…

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The Extraterritorial Seizure of Individuals under International Law – The Case of al-Liby: Part II

In this second of two posts I intend to continue the analysis of the extraterritorial seizure of individuals under international law, with a particular focus upon the recent arrest, detention and now trial of the al-Qaida leader al-Liby by the United States, who was wanted in connection with the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania…

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Surveillance without Borders: The Unlawfulness of the NSA Panopticon, Part II

This is Part II of a post assessing the international law implications of the U.S. National Security Agency's global spying program. Part I focused the general international law implications of the program. This part focuses on potential violations of human rights law and breaches of the law of diplomacy. Constitutional fundamental rights binding the…

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