In recent times, instances of contestation against the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have made headlines, and, in many of these cases, domestic courts have played a role by refusing to follow the human rights courts or even declaring their judgments to be unconstitutional. This article undertakes an in-depth analysis of these instances of judicial resistance and puts them into context. This shows that domestic courts, even though originally not having been allocated this role, have become important ‘compliance partners’ of the human rights courts and now play an important and autonomous role in the implementation of their judgments. At the same time, they act as ‘gatekeepers’ and limit their effects in the domestic order. Recent cases even suggest a turn to a less open and more national self-perception of domestic courts. While this reflects to some extent the multiple – and sometimes conflicting – roles domestic courts perform at the intersection of legal orders, the article argues that the open and flexible stance many domestic courts take when faced with international judgments is better suited to cope with the complex and plural legal reality than systematically judging anew on matters already decided by the human rights courts.
Kunz, R. (2019). Judging International Judgments Anew? The Human Rights Courts before Domestic Courts. European Journal of International Law, 30(4), 1129–1163. https://doi.org/10.1093/ejil/chz063