What role does the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) and EU law play in elaborating the rights and principles embodied by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)? Over the last 20 years, human (or ‘fundamental’) rights have become a constant part of the way the CJEU interprets and applies EU law. In a period where fundamental rights and values are increasingly under threat both globally and in Europe, judicial institutions remain an important last bastion of protection. Commenting on Judge Rosas’ (2007) observation that the CJEU is not in fact a human rights Court, three critical questions are derived: The first question is the most related to this special issue. What does the development of the CJEU—an institution with human rights responsibilities—mean for general international human rights law? The second takes up Judge Rosas’ observation that the CJEU, unlike the Strasbourg Court, has extensive judicial responsibilities beyond human rights. What does the development of EU human rights law mean for EU law more broadly? Finally, if Judge Rosas is right that the CJEU is not a human rights Court, what does that mean for its relationship to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the other organs of the Council of Europe? In answer to this last question, the article cautiously advances the argument that the very fact that the CJEU is not a human rights Court implies a more robust role than Judge Rosas suggests for external review of EU law by international human rights bodies.
Mark Dawson, What Does it Mean to Say that the Court of Justice is not a Human Rights Institution? A Critical Appraisal, Journal of Human Rights Practice, 2022.