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date: 22 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter deals with the making, status, and interpretation of international treaties under the German Constitution. It describes the interrelationship of the different institutions in treaty-making and shows how a comparatively old provision of the German Basic Law has been adapted slowly to new circumstances over the past decades. Thus, even though foreign affairs has remained a domain of the executive, several developments have contributed to an enhanced role of Parliament over time. These developments are partly due to the role of special sectors of law such as EU law and the law governing the use of force and partly due to changes in constitutional practice. As for the status of treaties in German law, the Federal Constitutional Court has developed a stance according to which treaties generally share the rank of the legal act that implements them into domestic law. A notable exception is the European Convention of Human Rights, which has assumed a quasi-constitutional rank by means of consistent interpretation. Some reference is made to other continental systems to assess how far different constitutions bring about certain features; various systems appear similar in many respects at first sight, whereas features in which they differ may be a source of inspiration for future constitutional practice.

Keywords: Germany, treaty-making, parliamentary participation, role of the Federal Constitutional Court, domestic status of treaties, treaty interpretation

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