Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. The role of the ECHR in the interpretation of the Charter. – III. The role of international instruments other than the European Convention. – IV. The interpretation given by the relevant treaty body. – V. The effects of international instruments on the level of protection.
Abstract: This article examines how international instruments for the protection of human rights may affect the interpretation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Charter). In doing so, it first reflects on the role of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in the interpretation of the Charter. The paper then considers the role of other international instruments, as they may be relevant in the interpretation of the Charter. The need to consider these instruments appears particularly clear when the explanations relating to the Charter refer to them in a manner suggesting that the instrument and the Charter protect corresponding rights. When an instrument is relevant, there is the need to take into account the interpretation given by the relevant treaty body established for reviewing the application of the specific instrument, such as the European Court of Human Rights with regard to the ECHR, or the Human Rights Committee with regard to the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Finally, the paper recalls that the Charter may not be invoked in order to restrict the protection of rights protected by international instruments, thus barring the possible attribution of negative effects to the Charter under EU law.
Keywords: Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union – European Convention on Human Rights – human rights treaties – EU law – European Court of Human Rights – Court of Justice of the European Union.
* Judge, International Court of Justice; Emeritus Professor at the University of Florence, firstname.lastname@example.org.