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Towards a Right to Democratic Governance in International Law

Udoka Ndidiamaka Owie


In its classical positivist tradition international law was not concerned with the internal structures of states, nor did it recognise the place of actors other than states; rather it espoused the concept of domestic jurisdiction and non-interference in the domestic affairs of states as evident in the Charter of the United Nations. Nevertheless, international law has progressed from its traditional state-centrism to an acknowledgement of the place of individuals in international law as highlighted by the development of the field of human rights. The aversion of traditional international law theorists to contemplate matters of purely national law or constitutional law, such as how a government is formed, has been challenged by the rise of democratic governments within state structures in Europe and Africa following the end of the Cold War. With the articulation of a democratic entitlement to individuals in the International Bill of Rights, as well as the aforementioned rise in democratic governments and the work of the United Nations, regional organisations, civil society in democracy and democratisation, a discourse on democratic governance has been inaugurated, opening up international law to a consideration of matters of constitutional law, which hitherto were uncharted waters. 

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