English summaries

Anna-Karin Lindblom, Non-Governmental Organisations in International Law

This article deals with the status and role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in international law, examining their rights and capacities under international legal instruments, e.g. as regards locus standi before courts and quasi-judicial bodies and different forms of co-operation with intergovernmental organisations. Although these rules illustrate the numerous possibilities available to NGOs to act within the international legal system, they lack coherence. It is discussed whether a more coherent regulation of NGOs is possible and whether it would enhance the legitimacy of international law.

Keywords: Non-governmental organisations; subjects of international law; locus standi

Ragnar Næss, The Armenian genocide dispute

Several states have passed resolutions that condemn the alleged genocide of Armenians in the last years of the Ottoman Empire. An alternative to passing resolutions of this nature would be to request that Turkey: 1) desist from punishing Turkish citizens who believe that a genocide was in fact committed against the Armenians, 2) support the appointment of a truth commission consisting of researchers from Turkey, Armenia and elsewhere. The paper argues that the question of the Armenian genocide remains undecided, citing several central historians to that effect. The articles sets out the opinions of such historians on four counts: 1) the question of genocidal intent; 2) the number of Armenians, death rates and causes of death in the period; 3) the question of Armenian provocation; 4) one’s general historical approach and its effect on one's conclusions. The article discusses three debates: 1) "the Permanent People's Tribunal's verdict against Turkey (1984); 2) the conference on Armenians in the Ottoman Empire initiated by the late Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Özal (1990); and 3) the debate in Armenian Forum no 2, 1998. Possible strategies for reconciliation are discussed and an international conference of historians proposed.

Keywords: Armenia; Ottoman Empire; the Armenian genocide; "Permanent People's Tribunal"

Nelly van Doorn-Harder, Indonesian Muslim Women Creating Justice

This contribution focuses on the initiatives of smalls group of young Muslim scholars and activists who have fused Indonesian models of Qur’an interpretation and social activism for women with contemporary ideas about fundamental human rights, especially women’s reproductive rights. In order to illustrate these activities, the article discusses the women’s group known as YKF (Yayasan Kesejahteraan Fatayat) which stands out because of its methods to develop and spread these new ideas about Islam and human rights to a wider audience. What YKF is attempting is to transform the new modes of thinking about Islamic injunctions into projects that promote societal development and help improve the position of women.

Keywords: Indonesia; Islam; reproductive rights; women's human rights

Siri Gloppen, Struggles for social rights – are the courts a suitable battleground?

International social and economic rights are recognised as law in many countries, but often not reflected in actual jurisprudence. This article points the blame at the structure of the legal system concluding that socio-economic rights are difficult to apply in ways that comply with norms of acceptable legal reasoning and the legitimate boundaries of the legal domain. This notwithstanding, there are examples of marginalized groups litigating on social rights – and successfully so – from India, and recently from South Africa. Landmark judgements by the respective constitutional courts cover some of the central concerns associated with bringing social rights issues into the courtroom.

Keywords: Social rights; South Africa; India; constitutional litigation