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Definition and development of human rights and popular sovereignty - UniDem seminar

15/05/2009 - 16/05/2009

Goethe University, Frankfurt –Seminar by the Venice Commission in co-operation with

- the Faculty of Law and the Cluster of Excellence “Formation of Normative Orders” of Goethe University, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, and with
- the Centre of Excellence in Foundations of European Law and Polity Research, Helsinki University, Finland.

Human rights need to be defined before they can be invoked by their beneficiaries. The definition process continues during the implementation phase, as human rights are constantly developed and adapted to new social circumstances. Still, the two phases are usefully kept apart, as the individual plays a different role in each of them: he or she acts in a political function as part of the sovereign legislator, on the one hand, and in a more individual role as a passive and active legal subject, on the other. The present seminar focuses on the first stage of the above mentioned process of definition and development of human rights.

One of the topics addressed in the seminar is the relationship between the sovereign law-making and constituent power, on the one hand, and the judiciary, on the other. Another core theme is the protection of human rights at the supranational or transnational level (EU). Because the seminar pertains as much to the individual as to political role of human rights beneficiaries, it is important to assess the specific requirements placed on the definition and development of human rights at supranational or transnational level ; these requirements differ indeed from those placed on international procedures in those matters (Council of Europe/UN).

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