Fidelity to Constitutional Democracy and to the Rule of International Law

Authored by: Russell Powell , Allen Buchanan

Routledge Handbook of International Law

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  January  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415418768
eBook ISBN: 9780203884621
Adobe ISBN: 9781134113095


 Download Chapter



Until recently, international law was almost exclusively concerned to regulate the behaviour of states toward one another. In contrast, what may be called robust international law (RIL) claims the authority to regulate matters within states and even to prescribe how the state is to treat its own citizens within its own territory. International human rights law is RIL par excellence, but international criminal law and some international environmental and trade law also regulate conduct previously thought to be reserved for state control. In this chapter, we focus on a fundamental question: Is the commitment to (domestic) constitutional democracy compatible with the commitment to robust international law? In the first section, we examine the question of whether RIL is compatible with democracy, examining claims that a state’s recognition of the supremacy of RIL is inconsistent with democratic principles. We then go on to ask the same question about constitutionalism that we asked in the first section about democracy: Is recognition of the supremacy of RIL consistent with the principles that comprise the political ideal of constitutional government?

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.