The Human Rights Committee’s experience with an international complaints procedure provides a number of insights when considering the likely development of new Optional Protocol to its sister covenant, the ICESCR. Our starting point is the more political debates over the Optional Protocol to ICESCR and we extrapolate from the trajectory of the Human Rights Committee to try answer some of the questions raised in this discussion. We specifically discuss the institutionalist response to the justiciability debate that the Human Rights Committee arguably provides, the overlap between ICCPR and ICESCR in the Human Rights Committee’s jurisprudence and whether a flood of complaints is likely to arise. We also comment on a number of approaches of the Human Rights Committee that perhaps should be avoided.
Keywords: Human Rights Committee, Optional Protocol, ICCPR, ICESCR, justiciability, flood of complaints, discrimination.

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Published In

Go to Nordic Journal of Human Rights
Volume 27Number 119 June 2009
Pages: 98114


Published online: 19 June 2009
Issue date: 19 June 2009



(b. 1954) Professor, European University Institute. He is also UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism and a former member of the UN Human Rights Committee. Our sincere thanks to the two referees for reviewing this piece and their very helpful comments.
(b. 1972) Research Fellow, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo and Director, Human Rights and Development Research Group, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo. Email: [email protected].

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