International Rule of Law
International Rule of Law Dialogue
|How does security or perceptions of security affect receptivity to advancements in the rule of law? |
Justice Joseph Nadeau:
Iraq is the most extreme example of the impact of security upon the judges and the judicial system. It has not deterred the judges from promoting the rule of law, however, in large part because of the commitment and determination of Chief Justice Madhat Al-Mahmoud. Security problems in some countries also make it harder to get American specialists to participate there.
The need to implement security measures, equipment and practices has impacted many budgets. But I have encountered no places where security is as high as in the U.S. which may reflect both a lack of funds and a lack of serious threats to date except in Iraq.
Perceptions of security certainly affect receptivity to advancements in the rule of law. Many in this country and elsewhere mistakenly believe that security trumps the rule of law. The opposite is true. Security requires that all individuals, corporate entities, and agencies of government be equally subject to the rule of law.
Michael Th. Johnson:
As we have so clearly seen since September 11, 2001, security concerns can have a very corrosive effect on our devotion to the subtleties of the “rule of law.” What are sometimes considered “technicalities” are in fact the essence of the rule of law itself.
In conflict regions as well as post conflict countries, the security concern is a first priority for both the government and its citizens. However, it is the integrity of the rule of law that provides the justification for self-defense. The dedication to civilized principles of freedom and self-determination and rule by rational law are most tested in a society when it is under attack.
There is no doubt that the US violations of international treaties and laws, in the name of security, has damaged our standing around the world. The disregard for due process in Gitmo is well known and a puzzlement to most people around the world.
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