Regional Courts as Judicial Brakes?

Open access

Abstract

The article examines how regional integration courts can act as judicial brakes, at a time when “constitutional coups” – leaders staying in power past constitutional time limits or other forms of actions against the spirit if not always the letter of the constitution – are alarmingly common. The article discusses how regional courts can be used to modify or protect national rule of law and the constitutional order from the outside (i.e. from the regional integration aspect) and the extent to which this can be valid particularly to promote a uniform interpretation and application of human rights. Although this trend is visible in Europe, it is more striking, because less expected, on other continents, in particular Africa and the Americas, where the developments take place in less than perfect democratic environments. The article contains evidence from cases dealt with in the various regional courts, supporting that a system of political and judicial oversight, especially in regions with weak or fragile democratic systems, can be a useful addition to national judicial or other mechanisms of protection of rule of law and control of the executive. Action by regional courts helps defeat perceptions of majoritarian politics, which in many countries allow for the winner to take all. Under a system of regional oversight, states become aware of the limits they themselves have set and citizens become aware of their possibilities to challenge political power.

1. Berry, David. Caribbean Integration Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2014.

2. Brenner, Neil, Bob Jessop, Martin Jones, and Gordon Macleod. “Introduction: State Space in Question”: 1–26. In: Neil Brenner, Bob Jessop, Martin Jones, and Gordon Macleod, eds. State/Space. London: Blackwell Publishing 2003.

3. Christiansen, Thomas, Emil Kirchner, and Philomena Murray. “Conclusion”: 618–642. In: Thomas Christiansen, Emil Kirchner, and Philomena Murray. The Palgrave Handbook of EU-Asia Relations. London: Palgrave Macmillan 2013.

4. Cohen, I. Glenn. The Globalization of Health Care: Legal and Ethical Issues. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2013.

5. Dhaliwal, Shveta. Human Rights Mechanism in South Asia. London: Taylor and Francis, 2016.

6. Duffy, Helen. “Hadijatou Mani Korua v. Niger: Slavery unveiled by the ECOWAS Court.” Human Rights Law Review (2008): 1–20.

7. Forere, Malebakeng. “Is discussion of the United States of Africa premature? Analysis of ECOWAS and SADC.” Journal of African Law 56(1) (2012): 29–54.

8. Hashimoto, Hideotoshi. The Prospects for a Regional Human Rights Mechanism in East Asia. London: Modern East and South East Asia, Taylor and Francis, 2015.

9. Henkin, Louis, Richard Crawford Pugh, Oscar Schachter, and Hans Smit. International Law, Cases and Materials. New York: American Casebook Series, 1982.

10. Kerikmäe, Tanel, Ondrej Hamulak, and Archil Chochia. “A Historical study of contemporary Human rights: Deviation or extinction?” Acta Baltica Historiae et Philosophiae scientiarum Vol. 4, No. 2 (2016): 98–115.

11. Klabbers, Jan. An Introduction to International Organizations Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

12. Koefele Kole, Ndiva. “Participatory Rights in Africa: A brief overview of an emerging regional custom.” Netherlands International Law Review (2008): 233–258.

13. Levitt, Jeremy I. “Pro-democratic Intervention in Africa”: 103–147. In: Jeremy I. Levitt, ed. Africa. Mapping New Boundaries in International Law. London: Hart Publishing, 2010.

14. Luna Pont, Mariana. “Southern American Common Market (MERCOSUR)”: 261–285. In: Lucio Levi, Giovanni Finizio, and Nicola Vallinoto, eds. The Democratization of International Institutions. London: Routledge, 2014.

15. Nowak, Manfred. Introduction to the International Human Rights Regime. Lund/Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers/The Raoul Wallenberg Institute Human Rights Library, 2003.

16. Nyman Metcalf, Katrin, and Ioannis F. Papageorgiou. “Los tribunales de justicia en sistemas de integración regional y el estado de derecho: el caso de Mercosur y la suspensión de Paraguay en 2012.” Revista Derecho Comunitario y Derechos Humanos 4 (2015): 68−91.

17. Nyman Metcalf, Katrin, and Ioannis F. Papageorgiou. “Why should we obey you? Enhancing implementation of rulings by regional courts.” African Human Rights Yearbook 1 (2017): 167–190.

18. Nyman Metcalf, Katrin, and Ioannis F. Papageorgiou. Democracy through Regional Integration. Antwerp: Intersentia, 2015.

19. Nyman Metcalf, Katrin, and Ioannis F. Papageorgiou. Regional Integration and Courts of Justice. Antwerp: Intersentia, 2005.

20. Otamendi, Santiago, and Pabol Saavedra Alessandri, eds. Diálogos. El Impacto del Sistema Interamericano en el ordenamiento interno de los estados. Buenos Aires: Ministerio Publico Fiscal de la ciudad autónoma de Buenos Aires, 2013.

21. Parra Vera, Oscar. “El impacto de las decisiones Interamericanas. Notas sobre la producción académica y una propuesta de investigación de torno al ‘empoderamiento institucional’”: 383–420. In: Hector F. Fix-Fierro, Armin von Bogdandy, and Mariela Morales Antoiazzi, eds. Ius constitutionale commune en América Latina. Rasgos, potencialidades y desafíos. Mexico City: UNAM Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, 2016.

22. Possi, Ally. “Striking a balance between community norms and human rights: The continuing struggle for the East African Court of Justice.” African Human Rights Law Journal (15) (2015): 192–213.

23. Tsen Lee, Evan. Judicial Restraint in America: How the ageless wisdom of the Federal Courts was invented. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

24. Vervaele, John A. E. “Mercosur and regional integration in Southern America.” International and Comparative Law Quarterly Vol. 54 (April 2005): 387–410.

25. Vidigal, Geraldo. “Enforcing Democracy at the Regional Level: Paraguay´s suspension before the Mercosur court.” Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law 2 (2) (2013): 337–349.

26. Whittington, Keith E. “The Power of Judicial Review”: 387–408. In: Mark Tushnet, Mark A.Graber, and Sanford Levison, eds. The Oxford Handbook of the US Constitution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

27. Wing, Adrien K. “Women’s Rights and Africa’s Evolving Landscape: The Women’s Protocol of the Banjul Charter”: 13–33. In: Jeremy I. Levitt, ed. Africa. Mapping New Boundaries in International Law. London: Hart Publishing, 2010.

1. Bamaca Velasquez v. Guatemala. Inter-American Court of Human Rights, 18 November 2010 // http://www.corteidh.or.cr/docs/casos/articulos/seriec_70_ing.pdf.

2. Barry L.T. Gondo and Others v. Zimbabwe. Case No. SADC (T) 05/2008, Decision 9 December 2010.

3. Cimexpan v. Tanzania. Case No. SADC (T) 01/2009, Decision 11 June 2010.

4. Communiqué of the 30th Jubilee Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government. Windhoek, 17-18 August 2010 // http://www.sadc.int/files/3613/5341/5517/SADC_Jubillee_Summit_Communique.pdf.

5. Dawada Jawara v. The Gambia. African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Communications Nos. 147/95 and 149/96 (2000) // http://www.achpr.org/files/sessions/27th/comunications/147.95-149.96/achpr27_147.95_149.96_eng.pdf.

6. Declaration of the 34th Meeting of Presidents of the SICA, Managua. 29 June 2009. Sistema de Integración Centroamericana // https://www.sica.int/consulta/reunion.aspx?idn=83164&idm=1&identstyle=401.

7. Dias v. Senegal. Judgement of 23 March 2012. ECOWAS Court, ECW/CCJ/APP/01/12 (ECW/CCJ/JUG/05/12).

8. ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol A/SP.1/01/05. 19 January 2005, amending Protocol A/P.1/7/91 of 6 July 1991.

9. Enrique Bolaños Geyer, in his function as President of Nicaragua vs. the National Assembly of Nicaragua. Central American Court of Justice, expediente 69-01-03-01-2005, Centro de Documentación e Información de la Corte Centroamericana de Justicia // http://cendoc.ccj.org.ni/Documentos/69-01-03-01-2005/0045/PDF%20RESOLUCION%20DEFINITIVA%20con%20firmas.pdf.

10. Hadijatou Mani Koraou v The Republic of Niger. Judgement of 27 October 2008. ECOWAS Court, ECW/CCJ/JUD/06/08.

11. Isabelle Manavi Ameganvi et. al. v. Togo. Judgement of 13 March 2012. ECOWAS Court, ECW/CCJ/APP/12/10 (ECW/CCJ/JUG/06/12), appeal of the case ECW/CCJ/JUD/09 from 7 October 2011.

12. James Katabazi and 21 others v. The Secretary General of the EAC and the Attorney General of the Republic of Uganda. East African Court of Justice Ref. 1/2007, 1 November 2007 // http://eacj.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/NO._1_OF_2007.pdf.

13. José Arnoldo Alemán Lacayo vs. Republic of Nicaragua. Central American Court of Justice. Expediente 59-01-08-01-2003, Centro de Documentación e Información de la Corte Centroamericana de Justicia // http://cendoc.ccj.org.ni/ExpedientesFichaLectura.aspx?id=130.

14. Laudo N° 1/2012 del TPR que rechaza procedimiento excepcional de urgencia solicitado por Paraguay, en relación a su suspensión en los órganos del Mercado Común y a la incorporación de Venezuela como miembro pleno (2012). 21 July 2012, Constitucion Web // http://constitucionweb.blogspot.gr/2012/07/mercocur-laudo-n-12012-del-tpr-que.html.

15. Mary Ariviza & Okotch Mondoh v. The Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya and The Secretary General of the EAC. East African Court of Justice Case 3/2010, 28 October 2010 // http://eacj.org/?cases=mary-ariviza-another-vs-the-attorney-general-of-the-republic-of-kenya-another-2.

16. Mary Ariviza & Okotch Mondoh v. The Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya and The Secretary General of the EAC. Application for injunction. East African Court of Justice // http://eacj.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Application-No-3-of-2010.pdf.

17. Mike Campbell (Pvt) LTD and Others v. Zimbabwe. Case No. SADC (T) 2/2007, Main Decision of 28 November 2008.

18. Molina Theissen v. Guatemala. Inter-American Court of Human Rights, 16 November 2009 // http://www.corteidh.or.cr/docs/casos/articulos/seriec_106_ing1.pdf.

19. Original Jurisdiction CCJ Applications No. OA 1 of 2013 and OA 2 of 2013 between Maurice Tomlinson and the State of Belize and the State of Trinidad and Tobago [2016]. Caribbean Court of Justice, CCJ 1 (OJ) Judgement.

20. Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. 10 June 1998 (in force 25 January 2004).

21. S. P. Ochieng & J. Tusiime v. The Attorney General of the Republic of Uganda. East African Court of Justice, Ref. 11/2013, 7 August 2015 EACJ Ref. 11/2013, 7 August 2015 // http://eacj.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Appeal-no-4-of-2015-Simon-Peter-Ochieng-vs-The-AG-of-Uganda.pdf.

22. Simone Ehivet Gbagbo and Michel Gbagbo v. Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. Judgment of 22 February 2013. ECOWAS Court, ECW/CCJ/JUD/03/13

23. The African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights (The Banjul Charter). 28 June 1981 (in force 21 October 1986).

24. The American Convention on Human Rights (The San José Pact). 21 November 1969 (in force 18 July 1978).

25. The Democratic Party of Uganda v. The Secretary General of the EAC and The Attorney Generals of the Republics of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi. East African Court of Justice. EACJ Ref. 2/2012, 29 November 2013.

26. The Tegucigalpa Protocol to the Charter of Central American States. 13 December 1991.

Baltic Journal of Law & Politics

A Journal of Vytautas Magnus University

Journal Information


CiteScore 2016: 0.13

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.102
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.276

Target Group researchers and scholars in the fields of law and politics, with an acute interest in the cross-pollinations of disciplines, comparative approaches to regional issues, and active dialogue on pressing contemporary issues of theoretical and practical import.

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 130 130 25
PDF Downloads 59 59 13