This article discusses the idea of international human rights law as ‘constitutional law’. It applies the French concept of Le contrôle de conventionnalité des lois, to demonstrate the constitutional potentials of international human rights law in the domestic sphere. In most monist constitutional systems based on the French civilian model, international law takes precedence over acts of parliament and other domestic legislation. Due in part to that hierarchy, conventionnalité permits the courts to review domestic law for compatibility with international law. From that perspective, international human rights norms can be said to have assumed a ‘para-constitutional’ function. Using two case studies from francophone Africa, this article argues that conventionnalité has the potential to play a significant role in the domestic implementation of international human rights and ultimately contributing to a more comprehensive domestic human rights regime.
© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston