The Copenhagen Declaration: Much ado about little?

The Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted the ‘Copenhagen Declaration’ Friday April 13 concerning the perpetual reform of the European Human Rights System. … On the face of it not much is new in the Declaration. It is still interesting, not least for what the Ministers agreed not to include from the draft circulated by the hosts April 5. The Danish draft urged states to reign in the Court by a dramatic extension of the ‘margin of appreciation,’ and by more control through political ‘dialogue.’ The robust rejection of these proposals also show us how the Court is independent yet accountable, to states committed both to protect human rights in Europe, and to complex conceptions of sovereignty and subsidiarity. in EJIL talk April 14, 2018
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Appreciating the Margin of Appreciation

How should an international human rights court best pay due respect to both the treaty and to its sovereign creators? The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is a prime case. It reviews whether states uphold their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Court is also authorized to rule on whether states may violate certain of their citizens’ rights – as the Convention permits – in order to protect morals, the conflicting rights of others, national security or other considerations (e.g. Articles 8 and 15).
One mechanism that arguably serves to reduce the risk that the ECtHR will abuse its power is the margin of appreciation (MA) doctrine that the Court has developed. The Court grants states the authority to decide, in some cases, whether they are in compliance with their treaty obligations. Is the MA doctrine a sound response to this perceived dilemma between majoritarian democracy and protection of human rights? The present chapter presents and defends some form of the MA doctrine precisely as a contribution by the Court to both protect human rights and to promote domestic democracies. I also suggest reforms to render it more legitimate. in Human Rights: Moral or Political?. A. Etinson. Oxford, Oxford University Press: 269-294. [SSRN] [WEB].

The Judicialization of International Law – a Mixed Blessing?

International courts and tribunals are increasing in number and importance. They address an expanding variety of issues, ranging from the law of the sea to international criminal law. .. international relations are increasingly judicialized. The present book maps and assesses this development – and reactions thereto, because the trends have met with mixed responses… The Judicialization of International Law – a Mixed Blessing?. A. Follesdal & G. Ulfstein, eds. Oxford, Oxford University Press [D0I/LINK] [SSRN] [WEB].

A Framework for Evaluating the Performance of International Courts and Tribunals

While prior studies have tended to focus on specific questions relating either to the design or to the effects of international courts, we develop an integrated framework for the study of the performance of ICs. .. We explore factors that may explain the patterns of performance we observe. …We are interested both in the outcomes courts produce and the processes through which they arrive at judgments…. To know whether regimes or governance systems are effective, then, we argue that it is imperative to ask whether international courts perform their roles well or poorly….
in The Performance of International Courts and Tribunals. T. Squatrito, O. Young, A. Follesdal & G. Ulfstein (eds). Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 3-35. [D0I/LINK] [WEB].

Legitimacy and International Courts – a Framework

This Introduction surveys some of the key contributions of this volume and distills some of the lessons of its varied chapters for the legitimacy of international courts. Parts II and III are largely conceptual in approach, exploring what legitimacy means for each and all of the courts. Part II explores the concept of legitimacy as it pertains to international courts, examining the relationship between source, process, and results-oriented aspects of IC legitimacy and the relationship between legitimacy, justice, democracy, and effectiveness. Part III looks more closely at the chapters in this volume and explores their contributions to the discussions above, as well as their lessons regarding the relationship between sociological and normative legitimacy.
Part IV takes a more functional approach, exploring how various factors internal or external to particular courts have contributed to those courts’ normative or sociological legitimacy. It considers international courts in their context, examining the relationship between the specific goals, design choices, audiences, institutional contexts and IC legitimacy. It explores three models of how these factors interact in this volume’s chapters to either support of undermine an international court’s sociological or normative legitimacy. Part V provides thumbnail summaries of each the chapters that follow.
— Grossman, N., H. Cohen, A. Follesdal and G. Ulfstein 2018 “Legitimacy and International Courts – a Framework “. The Legitimacy of International Courts . N. Grossman, H. Cohen, A. Follesdal & G. Ulfstein (eds). Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 1-40.
[D0I/LINK]

A challenge to Raz’ Service Conception?

“The Legitimate Authority of International Courts and Its Limits: A Challenge to Raz’ Service Conception?” in Legal Authority Beyond the State. P. Capps & H. Palmer Olsen, eds. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 188-205.

Very public challenges to international courts (ICs) by state governments, legislatures, domestic or international courts, corporations, investors or civil society groups are often draped in terms of ‘legitimacy’. The challenges provoke several questions. Why should such ‘compliance constituencies’ defer to ICs’ judgments at all? More precisely: when do ICs’ judgments give such constituencies reason to act differently than they would otherwise – and when do they not? The present contribution argues that states’ disobedience may be justified due to the substantive contents of the particular ruling by an IC. Section 1 provides a brief sketch of Raz’s ‘Service account’ of legitimacy, and addresses some criticisms relevant to our concerns. Section 2 brings this account to bear on ICs, and lays out some of its distinguishing features by comparing it to the influential accounts of Daniel Bodansky and Yuval Shany. Section 3 turns to consider how this account accommodates and even justifies cases of disobedience against ICs. [D0I] [SSRN] [WEB]

… Og forøvrig bør EMD nedlegges?

Professor Mads Bryde Andersen forsvarer utkastet til København-erklæring om den europeiske menneskerettighetsdomstol (EMD)… Men han ser ut til å mene at EMD bør nedlegges: Den pirker unødig på ‘snille’ land som Danmark som ikke trenger den, og den har ingen virkning i ‘slemme’ land uansett. Vi er uenige på begge punkter. København-erklæringen burde isteden svare på EMDs hovedutfordringer: Enkelte stater er ansvarlige for omfattende brudd på sentrale menneskerettigheter, og populistiske bevegelser angriper demokratiet og rettsstatsprinsipper, nasjonalt og internasjonalt.
– Med Geir Ulfstein, Klassekampen 9. mars 2018 [LINK] [WEB].

Rotevatns uttalelser og unnlatelser

I Klassekampen 1. mars unnlater Rotevatn å nevne at Norge ikke har vært kritisk til det danske forslaget om at EMD bare skal kunne overprøve nasjonale beslutninger i asyl- og immigrasjonssaker i «de mest eksepsjonelle» tilfellene. Dette ville, som vi har påpekt, i stor grad frata en meget utsatt gruppe den påkrevde internasjonale overvåkningen. Mener Rotevatn at dette er i orden? … det er misvisende når Rotevatn hevder at utkastet til erklæring ikke vil føre til en ny fordeling av ansvar. … Det hadde … vært all grunn til å forvente at Justisdepartementet offentliggjorde hva Norge mener – og aktivt gjorde Stortinget, partier og den bredere offentligheten kjent med dette. [LINK] [WEB]

 

Autoritære stater, gled dere!

Det danske formannskapet i Europarådet vil reformere den europeiske menneskerettighetsdomstolen (EMD). Forslagene lyder uskyldige: mer delt ansvar og en bedre dialog mellom domstolen og statene. Men i realiteten ønsker den danske regjering å begrense domstolens overvåking, og øke regjeringenes politiske kontroll, særlig over saker knyttet til asyl og immigrasjon…. Kronikk i Klassekampen 27. februar 2018  [LINK] [TEXT].