Keywords: Interpretation and International Law; Norms Conflicts; Hierarchy and International Legal Order; Human Rights; International Legal Regimes.
The international legal order lacks both a hierarchy of norms and a centralised judicial system for consistent interpretation and resolution of norm conflicts. This article considers the competing paradigms of human-right-based hierarchy and systemic integration and analyses case law in order to establish which one dominates judicial practice in norm conflict resolution. The authors argue that where human rights clash with other international obligations, judicial bodies tend to favour systemic integration, e.g. through harmonious interpretation, above conflict resolution through the acknowledgment of a human rights-based hierarchy. Whereas this reduces the relevance of the formal recognition of a hierarchy of human rights norms, it also opens up the possibility of increased accommodation of human rights within other international legal regimes.