US Reaffirms Its Rejection of International Human Rights Law Overseas

I wrote previously that the United States was expected to reject the applicability of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to non-US territories under its effective control (as in the case of Iraq during US occupation). As expected, the US government upheld this interpretation before a meeting of the UN Human Rights Committee. The Committee expressed its “regret” with this interpretation, with the Committee Chair concluding thus:

The provisions of the Covenant were rather clear on the fact that it applied to both people in the territory and people under the jurisdiction of the State Party, and this was the most common interpretation.  It was worrying that the United States presented such an example to the international community.

Marko Milanovic has a good summary of the ultimately futile efforts of Harold Koh, former Legal Advisor to the US State Department, to shift US policy toward a more legally tenable interpretation of the treaty’s application.


  1. Elaine Lemieux says:

    I thought there were already international laws,I guess I mean military law.

  2. Jaylemeux says:

    The US is rejecting the extraterritoriality of the primary International Human Rights Law.

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