The violence in Darfur is increasingly spilling over to neighboring Chad. Attacks in Chad have killed around 200 people over the past week. It is estimated that 12,000 Chadians have been displaced since November 4th. Survivors describe their attackers as Arab nomad tribes, both Chadian and Sudanese. Many victims were burned alive in their homes.
The ICJ will commence public hearings for the case of Ahmadou Sadio Diallo on November 27, 2006. The Court will address preliminary objections by the DRC. The Republic of Guinea alleges that the DRC committed violations of international law against Ahmadou Sadio Diallo, a Guinean national. Two ad hoc judges will join the Bench to hear this case pursuant to Article 31 of the ICJ Statute. The Republic of Guinea chose Mr. Ahmed Mahiou (Algeria) and the DRC chose Mr. Auguste Mampuya Kanunkâ€™A-Tshiabo (DRC).
See the press release.
In an effort to stem the ongoing crises in Sudan, President Bush signed into law on October 13 the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006 (DPAA) and issued an executive order â€œblocking property of and prohibiting transactions with the Government of Sudan. While not committing the U.S. to any type of intervention, the order does recognize that genocide and crimes against humanity are occurring in Sudan. Furthermore, the order specifically forbids transactions relating to Sudan’s petroleum and petrochemical industries. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/10/20061013-14.html.
France has consented to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in a case filed by the Republic of Djibouti. The consent is limited to the current claims filed by the Republic of Djibouti and is made pursuant to Article 38, paragraph 5, of the Rules of Court of the International Court of Justice.
For more information, see the press release of the ICJ here.
Review of Beyond Common Knowledge, Edited by Erik J. Jensen and Thomas C. Heller.
Stanford University Press: Palo Alto, Cal., 2003. Pp. 456. $70.00 (cloth).*
Following in the Stanford tradition of socio-legal studies, Beyond Common Knowledge brings together an impressive array of international scholars and practitioners for a timely study of judicial reform and “rule-of-law assistance” (“ROLA”). Much of rule-of-law literature relies on insufficiently documented and often arid doctrinal approaches to the rule of law. In contrast, Beyond Common Knowledge places empiricism at the center of comparative legal scholarship to understand what courts and their alternatives actually do and what is actually happening within ROLA. This collection of studies from around the world successfully engages both scholars and policymakers in an empirically enlightened reassessment of what ROLA actually is and of what it can and therefore should be. While Beyond Common Knowledge makes an important contribution to the ROLA debate by introducing an empirical approach, the full value of an empirical inquiry will not be realized unless complemented by a strong normative argument. To deliver tangible outcomes in the area of development, global poverty, and inequality, ROLA should be conceived within a critical pragmatic approach that integrates empirical insights with progressive normative views. In this Book Review, I advocate for an approach that combines empiricism, normative critique, and pragmatic advocacy to articulate and advance a more progressive ROLA framework and agenda.
Beyond Common Knowledge is a collection of essays and case studies analyzing rule-of-law reform and the role of judicial systems and their alternatives across the world. These studies seek to test widespread doctrinal hypotheses about the role of legal and judicial systems in economic growth and democratic politics and assess the current practice of ROLA. What is unique about the book is its openly empirical approach that seeks to move ROLA discourse beyond discussions about the philosophical meaning of access to justice and the rule of law or the political biases of ROLA discourse. In classic law and society fashion, each author in this volume supports his or her analysis with empirical research, country or cross-country case studies of judicial systems, and a strong emphasis on political economy analysis. The various studies offer insightful conclusions, and some provoking thoughts. They include a case and methodology for evaluating systems of justice through public opinion polls (José Juan Toharia, chapter1); a comparative law and society study of judicial systems in Western Europe (Erhard Blankenburg, chapter 2); empirical assessments of informal justice (Marc Galanter and Jayanth K. Krishnan, chapter 3) and special consumer courts (Robert S. Moog, chapter 4) in India; innovative approaches to empirical research about the Chinese judiciary (Donald C. Clarke, chapter 5 and Hualing Fu, chapter 6); political economy analyses of ROLA (Jensen, chapter 10, and Heller, chapter 11); judicial reform programs in Latin America (Linn Hammergren, chapter 9, on Latin America generally, Carlos Pena Gonzalez, chapter 7, on Chile, and Héctor Fix-Fierro, chapter 8, on Mexico).
Beyond Common Knowledge addresses ROLA’s uneven empirical record and calls for its systematic evaluation through new empirical research standards. These standards can examine what courts and their alternatives actually do and monitor and measure the progress of ROLA reforms. Pointing generally to the limited impact of and resources for judicial and legal reforms, the book calls for a more “modest” and “thin” ROLA agenda that would focus on less ambitious intermediate level outcomes, such as improving court transparency and court management for everyday cases. The book argues for a shift away from ROLA’s “judicial centrism” and the doctrinal belief in independent judiciaries, for ROLA actors to recognize informal and alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) processes outside of the formal judicial system, and for a deeper understanding of local legal culture and political economy.
Although the authors in Beyond Common Knowledge assess and criticize the gap between articulated ROLA goals and practice, they self-consciously prioritize a “realistic” and improving-the-record approach to meeting modest, intermediate level rule-of-law objectives as the way ahead. Hence, with the notable exception of Heller’s postscript chapter, which articulates a paradigm for governance and ROLA within existing institutional “ecologies,” the authors in this volume fall short of articulating a strong normative framework for ROLA.
Part I of this Book Review will discuss the broad outline of a critical pragmatic approach to ROLA that combines the empiricism found in Beyond Common Knowledge with a normative vision for attacking global poverty. Part II explores “selling” pro-poor programs within ROLA standard packages. Part III concludes. . . .
* This excerpt does not include citations. To read the entire article, including supporting notes, please download the PDF.
Throughout the vicious cycle of dictatorships and civil wars that has characterized its post-independence history, Sudan has presented a classic case of religious majoritarian authoritarianism. The country’s northern Muslim elites have consistently argued that the Muslim majority has an inherent democratic right to establish an “Islamic” state governed by religiously inspired laws and norms. Since the early days of independence, and particularly since Islamists assumed power in 1989, this Islamic majoritarianism has manifested itself in a wide array of constitutional and legal pronouncements, as well as political practices, that entrench Islam in Sudan’s constitutional, political, and legal systems. Such persistent attempts to enforce an Islamic identity on the entire country have left its mostly southern religious minorities alienated and provoked numerous rebellions and secessionist movement over the past fifty years.
This Note argues that these formulations of Islamic federalism fall short of reversing the course of majoritarian tyranny in Sudan. This conclusion is of grave consequence given that the Machakos-stipulated six-year transitional period before a southern vote on self-determination—effectively the last chance for a united Sudan—will be under a variant of Islamic federalism. This formulation may render the southern vote for secession a foregone conclusion. The central aim of this Note is to explore the viability of federalism within an Islamic framework as an adequate response to majoritarian tyranny against non-Muslims in Sudan. Although there has been extensive scholarship on the role of religion in Sudanese politics, rarely has the issue been analyzed through the lens of majoritarian tyranny.