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Global Democracy in Decline?

How Rising Authoritarianism Limits Democratic Control over International Institutions

Eugenia C. Heldt and Henning Schmidtke

Abstract

Over the past decade, rising authoritarian regimes have begun to challenge the liberal international order. This challenge is particularly pronounced in the field of multilateral development finance, where China and its coalition partners from Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa have created two new multilateral development banks. This article argues that China and its partners have used the New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to increase their power and to restrict democratic control mechanisms. By comparing formal mechanisms of democratic control in both organizations to the World Bank, this article shows that civil society access, transparency, and accountability are lower at the AIIB and NDB than they are at the World Bank.

Kathryn Allinson

Nathanael Tilahun Ali

Recent reforms in international anti-laundering regime install legal professionals as gatekeepers by requiring them to take certain due diligence measures and actively cooperate with the state. These requirements have generated controversy and varied compliance among states. The prevailing view in legal academia and profession is that compliance with these requirements is inversely related to the resilience of states’ domestic rule of law system. The article critiques this view: the gatekeeping controversy is a debate taking place among different traditions of rule of law, and not creeping-in from outside the bounds of rule of law. By tracing policy documents, prominent judicial decisions and records of activities of legal professional associations, the article shows that states’ divergent compliance is instead a function of (i) a split in the philosophical inclinations of judiciaries over how the legal profession serves the public interest, and (ii) a turf-war over the administration of the legal profession.

Raluca Grosescu and Ned Richardson-Little

Abstract

This introductory essay provides an overview of the scholarship on state socialist engagements with international criminal and humanitarian law, arguing for a closer scrutiny of the socialist world’s role in shaping these fields of law. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the historiography on post-1945 international law-making has been generally dominated by a post-1989 sense of Western triumphalism over socialism, where the Soviet Union and its allies have been presented as obstructionists of liberal progress. A wave of neo-Marxist scholarship has more recently sought to recover socialist legal contributions to international law, without however fully addressing them in the context of Cold War political conflict and of gross human rights violations committed within the Socialist Bloc. In contrast, this collection provides a balanced understanding of the socialist engagements with international criminal and humanitarian law, looking at the realpolitik agendas of state socialist countries while acknowledging their progressive contributions to the post-war international legal order.

Xinmin Ma

Abstract

The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS or the Convention) is one of the most important accomplishments in the development of international law in the twentieth century. As a comprehensive compilation of the modern law of the sea, the UNCLOS not only codifies numerous customary rules of law of the sea, but also progressively develops the treaty rules of law of the sea. Especially the three bodies established by the UNCLOS, namely the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), have played an important role in facilitating the implementation of the UNCLOS and promoting stability and development of the international marine order. As a member of the big family of the States Parties to the UNCLOS, China has been faithfully fulfilling the obligations of the UNCLOS, fully engaged in the work of the three bodies and actively contributing its solutions and wisdom. In the process of implementing the UNCLOS, China has formed its own practices and policies.