Human Rights and the Rule of Law – Challenges (not only) for South Africa

TitelHuman Rights and the Rule of Law – Challenges (not only) for South Africa
Typ der PublikationJournal Article
AutorInnenMelber, H
JournalStichproben. Wiener Zeitschrift für kritische Afrikastudien

"Two acronyms are prominent current currency – and they happen to be two sides of the same coin. The Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) and its less controversially discussed sibling Rule of Law (RoL) are for obvious reasons complementary. After all, situations of state failure, which require the international community’s responsible intervention with the aim to protect people from the abuse through the state power under which they are forced to live (if not killed by it or seeking refuge elsewhere), result in a postconflict situation, which requires transitional justice and the establishment of a lasting RoL that is supposed to be more than the previous law of the rulers. While RtoP emerged as one of the most contentious issues recently discussed in the context of global policy and governance, the RoL has never really much been a matter of openly spectacular debates. This does not mean, however, that it is a widely accepted and practiced notion. The marked increase in a “rule of law promotion industry” (Peerenboom/Zürn/Nollkaemper 2012: 311), to which the same volume is the most recent addition, is however a strong indication that the debate has accumulated some dynamic. This article summarises several of the core issues around the RoL. The general aspects are then linked to some challenges for the particular case of a South African domestic and foreign policy measured against its perceived as well as self-proclaimed role as a pro-active continental if not global player. This understanding of policy makers in Pretoria was further cemented by the successful campaign to fill the position of chairperson at the AU Commission as from 2013 with one of the leading South African political office bearers, thereby openly seizing even more responsibility also in terms of African policy matters." (from the article's introduction) Dr. Henning Melber is Senior Advisor (Director emeritus)at the The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and Extraordinary Professor at the Department of Political Sciences/University of Pretoria. Publication by permission of the author.

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