Right to Property

The Supreme Court of Vanuatu cited CEDAW and used it as a guide in formulating a principle for distribution of matrimonial assets. The Court held that there is a presumption of joint or equal ownership of all matrimonial assets.


A law in Nepal gave preference to males regarding ancestral property inheritance. The Forum for Women, Law and Development asked the Supreme Court of Nepal to overturn this law, citing CEDAW, which had the status of national law in Nepal. Instead of striking down this law directly, the Court ordered the government to pass legislation within one year to rectify the situation. However, the government did not do so. Thus, while the Court considered international human rights norms in making its decision, its decision was ultimately ineffective.

The plaintiff challenged a provision of the Japanese legal code. The provision stated that the intestate share guaranteed by Japanese law to an illegitimate child shall be one-half of the share guaranteed to a legitimate child. The Supreme Court of Japan ruled that this was constitutional. Although the Court cited the ICCPR, it nevertheless seemed to decide in opposition to it, in particular Article 24. The decision was made with ten justices in the majority and five in the dissent. The five dissenting justices asserted the importance of Article 26 of the ICCPR. They opined that the Court was divided over how heavy the legal weight of international human rights treaties should be in the Japanese legal system.

(found in ''Incomplete Revolutions and Not So Alien Transplants: the Japanese Constitution and Human Rights'' by Sylvia Brown Hamano, 1 U. PA. J. CONST. L. 415, 477)