Rule of Law - a guide for politicians

Rule of Law

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The purpose of this Guide is to provide an orientation for politicians regarding the basic elements of the rule of law.

The Guide was inspired by discussions within the InterAction Council of Former Heads of State and Government. The process of preparing the material was initiated and supervised by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Lund University, Sweden, and the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL), the Netherlands.

The first draft of the Guide was authored by Dr Ronald Janse, head, 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. The final review was made by Dr Hans Corell, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute and former Legal Counsel of the United Nations.

A lodestar 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. But 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 the Guide.

The genesis of the Guide is a discussion among members of the InterAction Council of Former Heads of State and Government in June 2008. In their Final Communiqué from the 26th Annual Plenary Session of the Council, held in Stockholm, Sweden, on 25-27 June 2008, they addressed among other questions “Restoring International Law”.

As it appears from their website the InterAction Council was established in 1983 as an independent international organization to mobilize the experience, energy and international contacts of a group of statesmen who have held the highest office in their own countries. Council members jointly develop recommendations on, and practical solutions for the political, economic and social problems confronting humanity.

During the preparation of their 2008 Communiqué the point was made that there was a need to raise the awareness of politicians of the basics of international law and the meaning of the rule of law.

This idea was then developed further within the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL). It was also discussed in meetings organized 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.

Presentation of the Guide to the 127th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on 24 October 2012 in the city of Québec, Canada
Link to the Audiovisual Presentation 

Text of the Audiovisual Presentation

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