How do you effect Rule of Law?

How do you effect Rule of Law?

Calling for 'rule of law' is one thing. Actually getting it done is quite another. Politicians could use better guidance on what rule of law is and what challenges and dilemmas the notion can present in practice.

The responses to the threats of global terrorism after the 9/11 bombings are but one example of how challenging it can be to 'do' rule of law. In June 2008, a discussion among members of the InterAction Council of Former Heads of State and Government held in Sweden, led to the idea to put together a rule of law guide for politicians to help them navigate the sometimes stormy waters of the rule of law.

A few members of the Rule of Law Leaders forum of HiiL's Innovating Justice Community picked up this idea. Under the leadership of Hans Corell (Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute and former Legal Counsel of the United Nations) a guide was put together to provide an orientation for politicians regarding the basic elements of the rule of law.

The process of preparing the material was initiated and supervised by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Lund University in Sweden, and the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL) in the Netherlands. The first draft of the Guide was authored by Dr Ronald Janse, head of the rule of law programme at HiiL, during the Henry G. Schermers Fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Further work was then performed within the two supervisory Institutes. The material was then reviewed by members of the InterAction Council and representatives of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Valuable comments were also received from individual experts.

It was also discussed in meetings organised by the World Justice Project. In this context readers of the Guide may be interested to see how their country is assessed in the Rule of Law Index referred to at the end. The final review was made by Dr Hans Corell.

A guiding principle in the preparation of the Guide has been that it should be as short as possible so that it could be read by busy politicians at various levels. It should also be useful to other decision-makers and policy-makers and to journalists and others who need to orient themselves in the topic.

The Guide should also be easy to translate and publish in different languages. This is also the reason why there are no graphical illustrations or pictures in it.

The Guide is freely downloadable from the internet and can be found here.