Treaty bodies: Choreographing the customary prohibition against torture

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article contributes to existing understandings about the contribution of human rights treaty bodies to the development of customary international law. It offers a method of assessing State responses to treaty body jurisprudence for the purposes of determining to what extent the responses push toward the reaffirmation or crystallisation of a customary rule of international law, namely the prohibition against torture. It speaks to the way in which, despite its status as a as a peremptory norm, the content of the norm is often challenged but also incrementally expanding due in large part to the way in which treaty bodies engage and guide States both inside and outside of the primary reporting procedures. Ultimately, this article demonstrates that State practice and opinio juris are increasingly influenced by the treaty bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-368
JournalInternational Community Law Review
Issue number3-4
Early online date12 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • treaty bodies
  • torture
  • customary international law

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  • Treaty bodies and states: Shaping custom

    McCall-Smith, K., 8 Dec 2020, International Organizations, Non-State Actors, and The Formation of Customary International Law. Droubi, S. & d'Aspremont, J. (eds.). Manchester University Press, p. 321-342 (Melland Schill Perspectives on International Law).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

  • US counterterrorism and the denial of fundamental rights from torture to fair trial

    McCall-Smith, K., 17 Nov 2020, Human Rights in Times of Transition: Liberal Democracies and the Challenges of National Security. McCall-Smith, K., Birdsall, A. & Casanas Adam, E. (eds.). Edward Elgar, p. 90-115 26 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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