Rule of Law
In our partner countries, NCHR works to strenghten human rights knowledge among core actors within the chain of justice, including judges, prosecutors and the police.
What do we do?
We support the judiciary's capacity to improve its human rights compliance.
We teach police detectives methods that could contribute to prevent torture and errors of justice.
We cooperate with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture in order to develop global standards for police investigation.
Why is this important?
National legal systems are meant play a central role in implementing human rights, but we often find that the mechanisms needed to realise this intention are almost absent.
- Rule of law (like "good governance") is a contested term, some would prefer the German parallel "Rechtsstaat".
- We particularly concentrate on the sub-strata of Rule of Law relating to "The right to a fair trial" and "Access to justice".
- We believe that fair-trial guarantees should apply at the earliest possible stage of a criminal proceeding, including the pre-trail stage.
- Our approach to Rule of Law is as much inspired by the counter-discourse, as simply believing that if you just fix the laws and the court system, everything else will fall into place:
"... judicial training, while understandably appealing to aid agencies, is usually rife with shortcomings and rarely does much good" (Thomas Carothers, Promoting the Rule of Law Abroad: the Problem of Knowledge. 2003).
“Western countries have developed a strong identity as being governed the rule of law, no matter what the actual history or the present situation might be. Such identity is obtained – as is the usual pattern – by comparison with “the other,” almost invariably portrayed as “lacking” the rule of law” (Mattei, Ugo and Nader, Laura. Plunder: When the Rule of Law is Illegal. John Wiley & Sons, 2008).
3 selected results:
- Work to establish global standards for police investigations has been initiated in cooperation with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.
- More than 1200 Indonesian military officers have received training in human rights and the law of armed conflict.
- In China, more than 800 judges have had their ability to establish judicial decisions in correspondence with rule of law principles enhanced.