Human Rights and Natural Law Theory

Enforcement of international human rights law began with Nuremberg, which recognized crimes against humanity and began a form of politics that favored intervention on behalf of individual rights, even when violations of those rights occurred within the boundaries of sovereign states. The body of international human rights law since World War II has established the principle that international law limits a States treatment of its own nationals.This international norm paved the way for detailed statements of internationally protected rights. To the extent that human rights plaintiffs classes are treated as an entity with substantive rights founded in CIL principles of collective rights, opting out would undermine such interests and therefore may not be warranted, so long as it is not constitutionally mandated. In general, procedures such as opt-out and notice designed to preserve individual autonomy are less compelling in the adjudication of collective human rights where shared interests are a prerequisite to the collective rights claims. Moreover, when balanced with considerations of corporate deterrence of human rights abuses through group remedies, a policy toward disallowing opt-out rights is justified.There is a great debate over whether human rights law becomes part of CIL. This is, in part, because of the difficulty of even defining CIL and human rights. International human rights law has been subject to little judicial interpretation. Indeed, a precise definition of human rights, in general, is widely debated. CIL is a dynamic body of law, evolving with the international community and its consciousness. The changing nature of CIL is in part due to its definition, which is both objective (State practice), as well as subjective (opinio juris, or the legal and moral expectations of society). Finding sufficient evidence of State practice and opinio juris for a CIL norm requires courts to delve into the nontraditional analysis.