IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

Testing Europe: COVID-19 and the rule of law

“Sovereign is he who decides on the exception,” wrote the notorious constitutional law scholar Carl Schmitt in 1922 in his work Political Theology, “exception” understood as measures undertaken in a state of emergency. The democratic constitutions of Europe are grounded on the notion of popular sovereignty; Article 20 of the German Basic Law, for example, states that “[a]ll state authority is derived from the people”. The Treaty on European Union …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Wo kein Richter, da kein Wähler?

Die Bedeutung des Rückbaus der Rechtsstaatlichkeit für die polnische Wahlrechtsreform

Polen und die Rechtstaatlichkeit – das ist seit Längerem eine schwierige Beziehung. Am Abend des 6. April 2020 änderte der Sejm (eine der beiden Kammern des polnischen Parlaments) zum zweiten Mal in kurzer Zeit unter Protest der Opposition, aber mit absoluter Mehrheit der rechtskonservativen PiS-Partei, das Krisengesetz und damit das Wahlgesetz, das bereits für die kommenden Präsidentschaftswahlen am 10. Mai in Kraft tritt. Statt die Wahlen aufgrund der aktuellen Situation …

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InterviewPractitioner's Corner

“To be a judge means to be criticized from all sides”

An interview with Angelika Nußberger

Angelika Nußberger was the German judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for nine years; her term of office came to an end at the turn of the year. Back at her chair at the University of Cologne, the German jurist and Slavicist looks back with us on her years at the Court, which she also headed as Vice-President since 2017. A conversation about legal challenges in today’s …

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InterviewPractitioner's Corner

„Richter sein bedeutet, von allen Seiten kritisiert zu werden“

Ein Interview mit Angelika Nußberger

Angelika Nußberger war neun Jahre die deutsche Richterin am Europäischen Menschenrechtsgerichtshofs (EGMR), zum Jahreswechsel ist ihre Amtszeit zu Ende gegangen. Zurück an ihrem Lehrstuhl an der Universität Köln blickt die deutsche Rechtswissenschaftlerin und Slavistin mit uns zurück auf ihre Jahre am Gerichtshof, dem sie seit 2017 auch als Vizepräsidentin vorstand. Ein Gespräch über rechtliche Herausforderungen in der heutigen Welt, die unterschiedliche Kritik am Gerichtshof, Erfolg und Misserfolg der zahlreichen Reformen …

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Current Developments

SDGs and the rule of law: the need to globalize the ethics of legal tech

In the context of the rapid adoption and integration of legal technology at a global level, this blog will problematize the consequences of the bias of current discussions on the ethics of legal tech in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs strongly emphasize the importance of the rule of law as a basis for development.  While there is a fast-growing literature on the ethics of legal …

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Current Developments

In the wake of the ICJ’s Opinion in Chagos: Britannia waives the rules

The United Kingdom recently reacted against the International Court of Justice’s Advisory Opinion on the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius. Has the UK abandoned the international rule of law? A unanimous verdict sows division On 25 February 2019, the ICJ handed down its Advisory Opinion on the UK’s separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius on 8 November 1965. The Opinion stated clearly that the excision of Chagos …

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Current Developments

Somaliland and Secession Politics in Eastern Africa

Somalia has been that isolated relative that no one speaks about. The one that lives in a little hut, far away from the general community, with little interaction with anyone. Nieces and nephews do not visit her, because she is said to be a witch. Everyone fears her, and so she is largely ignored. Nobody wants to go near her homestead. Since the overthrow of Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia …

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Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Agenda 2030 – Time to Revisit Rule of Law programming

As the development community re-focuses on how the rule of law agenda enables sustainable development as expected in fulfilment of Agenda 2030, questions will continue to arise concerning the mixed results of rule of law assistance projects. D. Marshall in his treatise “The International Rule of Law Movement: A Crisis of Legitimacy and the Way Forward,” emphasizes that there is a profound knowledge deficit regarding the justice system, its actors, …

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Rule of Law Goes GlobalSymposium

Does the African Union truly defy the United Nations peace and security regime?

A response to Theresa Reinold In her recent post, Theresa Reinold critically examines the efforts by the African Union to further democracy on the African continent. She pertinently notes that these efforts suffer from an incumbency bias, favoring already established regimes over potential political change, especially in states where no open democratic culture exists. I find her argument by and large convincing and would like to focus on one specific aspect: …

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Rule of Law Goes GlobalSymposium

No unalloyed good

The AU’s rejection of “unconstitutional changes of government”

Democracy and Africa are two words that rarely appear in the same sentence. If they do, the sentences are usually framed in exhortatory or aspirational terms rather than as statements of facts. Yet even though free and fair elections are still far from being the habitual way of obtaining and transferring political power in Africa, the African Union (AU) has developed an impressive array of instruments that seek to nurture …

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