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 aimed at torture prevention and averting wrongful convictions.
We cooperate with the The Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), and the Anti-Torture Initiative (ATI) in order to develop a universal protocol for investigative interviewing and associated safeguards.
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 barely functional.
- 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)
Four selected results:
- Our effort to develop a universal protocol for investigative interviewing and associated safeguards is gaining ground.
- On different occasions, the UN Assistant Secretary for Human Rights has used investigative interviewing as an example showing that security and human rights are not mutually excluding, but that human rights compliance rather reinforces security.
- 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.