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5 - Germany

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 January 2010

Andreas L. Paulus
Affiliation:
Professor of Public and International Law; Director, Institute of International and European Law, University of Göttingen, Germany
David Sloss
Affiliation:
Santa Clara University, School of Law
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Summary

INTRODUCTION: INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AND GERMAN PRACTICE

After the traumatic experience of German self-isolation from the democratic world in the Nazi era and World War II, the founders of the new (West) German Constitution, the Grundgesetz, regarded integration into the world community as a primary goal, perhaps the primary goal, for the establishment of a democratic and federal Germany. Accordingly, the Grundgesetz became famous for its “friendliness” toward international legal relations.

Under the prevailing interpretation of Article 59 of the Grundgesetz, duly ratified treaties are part of German law and enjoy the same status as federal statutes, similar to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Under the prevailing canons of interpretation, however, this is only part of the story: German courts are also bound to interpret domestic law, as far as possible, in a way that avoids the breach of international legal obligations. Cases of open and intentional conflict between an international treaty and domestic legislation are extremely rare. Thus, the role of German courts in the domestic implementation of international treaties appears to be considerable but straightforward: their task is to allow Germany to fulfill its international obligations by faithfully interpreting German law in accordance with Germany's international obligations, in particular treaty obligations.

If it was ever so simple, this is no longer true. As a member of the United Nations and the European Union, Germany has become a state party to a great number of international treaties so that potential conflicts become increasingly frequent.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Role of Domestic Courts in Treaty Enforcement
A Comparative Study
, pp. 209 - 242
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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  • Germany
    • By Andreas L. Paulus, Professor of Public and International Law; Director, Institute of International and European Law, University of Göttingen, Germany
  • Edited by David Sloss
  • Book: The Role of Domestic Courts in Treaty Enforcement
  • Online publication: 06 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511635458.006
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  • Germany
    • By Andreas L. Paulus, Professor of Public and International Law; Director, Institute of International and European Law, University of Göttingen, Germany
  • Edited by David Sloss
  • Book: The Role of Domestic Courts in Treaty Enforcement
  • Online publication: 06 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511635458.006
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Germany
    • By Andreas L. Paulus, Professor of Public and International Law; Director, Institute of International and European Law, University of Göttingen, Germany
  • Edited by David Sloss
  • Book: The Role of Domestic Courts in Treaty Enforcement
  • Online publication: 06 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511635458.006
Available formats
×