2009 | 2(91) | 55-77
Article title

LIMITATION CLAUSE AND THE INVIOLABILITY OF RIGHTS AND DIGNITY (Klauzula limitacyjna a nienaruszalnosc praw i godnosci)

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The author examines the arguments for applicability of the limitation clause which specifies the requirements for limitation of constitutional freedoms and rights (Article 31 para. 3 of the Constitution) to the right to protection of life (Article 38). Even if there is almost a general acceptance of such applicability, this approach does not hold up to criticism based on the rule existing in the Polish legal order that treaty commitments concerning human rights have supremacy over national statutory regulations. Due to an international pattern which does not provide application of the limitation clause to the right to life protection, despite the recognition - at the level of a constitutional standard - of applicability of the clause of Article 31 para. 3 to Article 38, and to protection of life in general, this will be made impossible at any attempt to formulate a statutory standard. He also points out the defectiveness of the reasoning leading to acceptance of certain limitations of a particular value (e.g. life) on the basis of the ex definitione exemptions existing in the international standard to the assumption of applicability of the limitation clause when shaping statutory standards in the Polish legal system. The discussed issues are related to the question of interpretation of the inviolability of human rights. This term takes different meaning in the context of: 1) inviolability of all human rights understood in abstracto as normative structures of a general and abstract nature; 2) right protecting certain values with no exception; 3) rights to which an application of the limitation clause is forbidden; 4) rights not subject to derogation; 5) inviolability of understood in concreto, as that is (here and now) due to the subject of dignity; 6) inviolable essence of freedoms and rights. One should also clearly distinguish between (7) the descriptive and (8) the normative meaning of inviolability.
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  • Marek Piechowiak, Uniwersytet Zielonogórski, Wydzial Humanistyczny, Instytut Filozofii, al. Wojska Polskiego 71A, 65-762 Zielona Góra, Poland
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