Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Delcourt: The Rule of Law as a Vehicle for Intervention

Barbara Delcourt (Université Libre de Bruxelles - Political Science) has posted The Rule of Law as a Vehicle for Intervention (Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, forthcoming). Here's the abstract:
Until recently, the concept of the ‘rule of law' (ROL) was exclusively used in relation to the domestic legal order of the state. Over the last two decades, however, it has entered the vocabulary of international legal scholars and experts. This journey of ROL from the domestic to the international sphere has provoked fierce debates between practitioners of international law, notably because, far from being a mere doctrinal controversy, it gave rise to practices impinging on the exercise of power at the international level and enabling diverse international experts to interfere in internal affairs of target states. This article argues that, in a somewhat paradoxical way, these developments impair the concept of ROL rather than expanding it into new domains. Indeed, while the established concept of ROL to a certain extent presupposed the principles of sovereignty and non-intervention, current reformulations of ROL weaken them while making new interventionist practices easier. Analysis of the legal rationalizations used in the context of contemporary EU and UN crisis management operations makes this clear. Drawing on insights gained from legal theory and international political sociology, this article highlights how the concept of ROL cannot simply be transposed into the ‘international' realm without hampering its internal coherence.