Constitutions and International Law

3,187
This publication is only available in electronic format
Published: 
18 February 2020
Language: 
English
Pages: 
11
Author(s): 
Cheryl Saunders

International law is an increasingly relevant consideration in constitution-building.

It is therefore helpful for a constitution to prescribe the effect of international law in domestic law. If all or some international law has automatic effect, it is helpful for the constitution to describe its position in the hierarchy of domestic law.

This Constitution Brief was written initially for use in Myanmar, and it explains the nature of international law and explores how it relates to constitution-making. It then addresses four questions about international law that are raised when a constitution is being drafted or substantially changed:

  • Should a constitution mention the relationship between international law and domestic law in the domestic legal system? If so, what are the options?
  • Should a constitution specify how the state enters into binding commitments under international law?
  • What are the implications, if any, of international law for the substance of a constitution?
  • What are the implications, if any, of international law for the process of constitution-making?

Contents

Introduction

1. What is international law?

2. How is international law relevant to constitution-making?

3. Relationship between international and domestic law in domestic legal systems

4. How states enter into binding legal commitments under international law

5. Implications of international law for the substance of constitutions

6. Implications of international law for the process of constitution-making

Conclusion

References

Related Content

Apr
15
2021
Protesters rally against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, Feb. 9, 2021. Image credit: VOA Burmese.

Protesters rally against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, 9 Feb 2021. Image credit: VOA Burmese.

Commentary
Apr
07
2021
Image credit: GoToVan @ flickr

Image credit: GoToVan @ flickr

Commentary
Jan
20
2021
Group work during community dialogue session organized by SUDO and supported by International IDEA on16 December 2020. North Darfur, Al Fashir. Image credit: International IDEA

Group work during community dialogue session organized by SUDO and supported by International IDEA on16 December 2020. North Darfur, Al Fashir. Image credit: International IDEA

Feature Story