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I·CONnect

Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law


–Mohamed Abdelaal, Assistant Professor, Alexandria University Faculty of Law

In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of developments in public law. “Developments” may include a selection of links to news, high court decisions, new or recent scholarly books and articles, and blog posts from around the public law blogosphere.

To submit relevant developments for our weekly feature on “What’s New in Public Law,” please email contact.iconnect@gmail.com.

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Court of Appeal of Belize upheld a decision of the High Court declaring that section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code is unconstitutional.
  2. Chile’s Environmental Court ruled in favor of indigenous complaints.
  3. The Turkish Constitutional Court found that the freedom of expression of a journalist has been violated.
  4. The Turkish Constitutional Court concluded that the right to life of a patient was violated as her death was caused by medical negligence.
  5. In Albania, the Constitutional Court is set to decide on the constitutionality of a special law that allows the demolition of the National Theater.

In the News

  1. In Ireland, a new birth control bill has been proposed.
  2. The chairman of Armenia’s Constitutional Court has been charged with abuse of power.
  3. In Thailand, the opposition increases pressure to amend the constitution.
  4. In Siri Lanka, a constitutional amendment has been proposed to expand presidential powers.

New Scholarship

  1. Penelope Andrews, The ‘Casserole’ Constitution: The South African Constitution and International Law (2020) (addressing the impact and the role of international law in the drafting of the South African constitution as well as in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court.)
  2. Benjamin Low, Full Powers and the Constitutional Doctrine of Implied Amendments (2019) (discussing the applicability of the doctrine of implied amendments to the Constitution of Singapore.)
  3. Jaclyn L. Neo, Dimensions of Religious Harmony as Constitutional Practice: Beyond State Control, 20 German Law Journal (2019) (arguing that religious harmony can mean many things and can be used in a myriad of ways that go beyond simply as a tool for state control.)
  4. Erdem Büyüksagis, Towards a Transatlantic Concept of Data Privacy, 30 Fordham Intellectual Property, 30 Media & Entertainment Law Journal (2019) (arguing that the regulatory and case law developments on both sides of the Atlantic hint at a harmonization process of data protection standards because of the ever-growing recognition of the need for specific data protection laws and their substantive convergence.)
  5. Chintan Chandrachud, Structural Injunctions and Public Interest Litigation in India, in P J Yap, Constitutional Remedies in Asia (2019) (analysing the use of structural injunctions by the Supreme Court of India, and in particular, the continuities in how, why and when the Court decides to deploy these injunctions.)
  6. Brian Slattery, Aboriginal Title and the Royal Proclamation of 1763: Origins and Illusions (2019) (arguing that modern law is in fact grounded in ancient doctrines of common law that evolved in British North America from the early days of settlement.)
  7. Michael Shammas, What’s Behind Rising Authoritarianism: Answers from Political Psychology & the Third Reich (2019) (examining the rise of the Third Reich to show how economic and political uncertainty has and can undermine liberal democracy.)
  8. Chintan Chandrachud, The Cases That India Forgot (2019) (arguing that courts are not always on the right side of history or justice, and they don’t always have the last word on the matters before them.)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. Submissions are welcome for the Tenth International Conference on Health, Wellness & Society to be held at Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3 on September 3, 2020, to September 4, 2020.
  2. A Call for Papers has been issued for the International Workshop ‘Media Representations of Law and Justice: Middle Eastern Perspectives.’
  3. The International Journal on Consumer Law and Practice (IJCLP) is seeking submissions for its upcoming volume.
  4. The Jamia Law Journal invites submissions of original papers for its upcoming volume.
  5. The social science conferences 2020 is seeking submissions related to the following conference topics: Society and Sociology, Communication, Politics,Law, Humanities and Culture.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Valentina Scotti, Women’s suffrage, The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law.
  2. Asem Khalil, Statutory Law, The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law.
  3. Dan Harris, Held Hostage in China: How to Make Like Carlos Ghosn and Escape, China Law Blog
  4. Thomas DeLorenzo, UN rights expert: US assassination of Iranian official violated international human rights laws, JURIST
  5. Varun Kannan, The Constitutionality of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act – A Rejoinder, Indian Constitutional Law and Philosophy
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Published on January 6, 2020
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Meet the 2020 Team for “What’s New in Public Law”


–The Editors

Exactly six years ago on January 5, 2014, we published the very first edition of “What’s New in Public Law.”

Its format today is largely unchanged, and its purpose has remained the same: to update our readers on recent developments in public law around the world. Developments include news from constitutional and supreme courts, new scholarship in public law, calls for papers, and highlights from around the blogosphere.

As we enter this new calendar year, we take this occasion to recognize our outgoing 2019 team members for their contributions to I-CONnect: Davide Bacis, Vicente F. Benitez R., Angelique Devaux, Nausica Palazzo, and Sandeep Suresh. We thank them for being an integral part of our team!

We are also pleased to introduce the team that will bring you “What’s New in Public Law” throughout 2020. We thank each of the scholars below for the great service they will provide for the entire field of public law.

We invite you to get to know them with the bios they have prepared about themselves.

As a reminder, we welcome your submissions of items to include in “What’s New.” Please send them by email to contact.iconnect@gmail.com. We require weblinks for all submissions; we do not upload documents, whether in PDF, Word or otherwise.

Mohamed Abdelaal is an Assistant Professor of Law at Alexandria University Faculty of Law in Alexandria, Egypt and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Indiana Robert H McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. He focuses his teaching and scholarship on the areas of Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Comparative Law, and Islamic Law. Abdelaal has published widely on constitutional law and comparative law and he served as a presenter and panelist in several law conferences and workshops in USA. Meanwhile, he is licensed to practice law in Egypt and he is admitted as a certified arbitrator under the Egyptian Law. He is also a permanent member of the Egyptian American Rule of Law Association (EARLA), Washington D.C., and has been invited for three consecutive years (2012-2013-2014) to serve as an Egyptian expert to draft the Rule of Law Index Report sponsored by the World Justice Project (WJP).

Susan Achury is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Miami University, Oxford-Ohio. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Houston, a master’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at El Paso, and a law degree from La Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Her research focuses on the institutional design of judicial review in Latin America, specifically in how broad access and lower barriers of non-justiciability to constitutional justice increase courts’ influence on policy outcomes. Her research also evaluates gender and racial representation in the US judiciary, as well as, intra-parties, and electoral rules. At Miami University, Susan teaches courses on Constitutional Law. 

Simon Drugda is a PhD Candidate in Law at the University of Copenhagen. He joined the Centre for European and Comparative Legal Studies (CECS) in September 2018, to work on a project on Judicial Reputation. His doctoral research builds on compliance-reputation theories proposed by Shai Dothan (2015) and Nuno Garoupa and Tom Ginsburg (2015). Simon investigates how three high courts in Denmark, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom manage their reputation through outreach activities and decision-making. Simon is a co-editor of the I·CONnect-Clough Global Review of Constitutional Law. His research interests are constitutional change, judicial speech, judicial studies, and all topics in comparative constitutional law.

Chiara Graziani is a Ph.D. Candidate and Research Fellow in Constitutional Law at the University of Genoa (Italy). She is also an academic fellow at Bocconi University, Milan (Italy). Her main research areas are human rights, national security and counter-terrorism measures, but she also studies other constitutional law-related issues, such as Brexit and its constitutional implications. Chiara published several works in Italian and in English and she was a visiting fellow in some foreign academic institutions, such as the Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland), the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg (Germany), the University of Valencia (Spain). She regularly takes part in conferences and seminars in Italy and abroad. She is a member of the IACL Research Group on Constitutional Responses to Terrorism and of the editorial boards of some Italian law journals. 

Claudia Marchese is a Research Fellow in Comparative Public Law and Lecturer at the University of Milan (Italy). She is also a teaching assistant at the University of Naples “Suor Orsola Benincasa”. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Law from the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” and in recent years collaborated with the research office of the Italian Constitutional Court. She was a visiting fellow in the Centro de Estudios Politicos y Constitucionales, Madrid (Spain). Claudia has national and international publications in comparative public law and constitutional law. Her research interests include political rights, democracy, social rights, public finance, megacities and development.

Matteo Mastracci is a Ph.D. Candidate in Public Law at Koç University, Istanbul. His main research interests are European Union Law, Comparative Constitutional Law, International and Human Rights Law, Political Theory and Populist Constitutionalism. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Law from University of Teramo (Teramo, Italy), a postgraduate Degree in International Criminal Law and Corporate Crimes from LUISS School of Law (Rome, Italy) and an LL.M. degree in Public International Law and Human Rights from Riga Graduate School of Law (Riga, Latvia). Currently, as a doctoral researcher, he is conducting comparative studies on Populist Constitutionalism, Judicial Independence and Rule of Law, both at European and International level.

Teodora Miljojkovic is an S.J.D. student at Central European University, Budapest.  Her research focuses on the principle of the rule of law as a constitutional value in illiberal democracies and its abuses. In her previous LL.M. thesis, she explored the role and impact of the constitutional courts in the democratization process of post-communist countries. Teodora is a member of the editorial board of Eudaimonia – Journal for Legal, Political and Social Theory and Philosophy. She is also a organizing team member of the Student Conference in Theory and Philosophy of Law at the University of Belgrade Law School.

Gaurav Mukherjee is an S.J.D. candidate in Comparative Constitutional Law at the Central European University, Budapest (CEU). Gaurav’s doctoral project examines the ways in which social rights cases adjudicated in courts in India, South Africa, and Kenya lead to participatory forms of judicial review that address concerns on polycentricity, institutional competence, and separation of powers. He is a co-convenor of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL) Research Group on Social Rights. Gaurav was an Indian Equality Law Visiting Fellow at the University of Melbourne in Winter, 2019. In 2018, Gaurav was awarded the Indian Law Review Early Career Prize for Case/Legislative Notes for his article analysing the shortcomings in a decision delivered by the Supreme Court of India on executive law-making power. His work has been published or is forthcoming in a number of journals and online publications, including the German Law Journal, the Oxford Human Rights Hub Journal, the Indian Law Review, and the Verfassungsblog. 

Eman Muhammad Rashwan is a Ph.D. candidate at the program of European Doctorate in Law & Economics (EDLE), University of Hamburg. She is also an Assistant Lecturer of Public Law at Cairo University, where she earlier obtained her bachelor of laws (English section) and her first Masters Degree in Public Law and Administrative Sciences. She holds a second LL.M. in Law and Government from American University, Washington College of Law, The USA. Eman has international publications in the different fields of public and international law. Her current research focuses on empirical legal studies and constitutional changes after revolutions.

Pedro Arcain Riccetto is a Ph.D candidate at the University of São Paulo (Brazil), currently researching at Harvard Kennedy School as a Democratic Governance Fellow (US). In the past three years he held research positions at the University of Oxford (UK), Yale University (US), Sciences Po (France), and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Germany). Moreover, Pedro worked at the Brazilian Congress and the UK Parliament. His research interests include judicial politics, comparative government, and policy-making, with special focus in Latin America. For his dissertation, he proposes a model to analyze under which institutional circumstances the power granted to a Court to review constitutional amendments enhances democracy. He tests the model by performing a cross-country comparison of the Courts in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru.

Maja Sahadžić is Researcher at the Government and Law Research Group at the Faculty of Law, the University of Antwerp, where she earned her Ph.D. She conducts empirical and qualitative research on the concepts of constitutional asymmetry, multi-tiered systems, and multinationalism. She explores the concepts by using the indicators of constitutional asymmetries, QRQs, statistical methods, and QCA analyses in proving the link between constitutional asymmetry and multinationalism and investigating the effects of constitutional asymmetry on legitimacy and stability. Her work experience includes earlier academic positions at universities in B&H, Croatia, and the USA. She is also an expert legal advisor and lecturer.

Boldizsár Szentgáli-Tóth is a research fellow of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies; and the Eotvos Loránd University, Department of Constitutional Law. He also serves as the research- and science manager of the Bibó István College of Advanced Legal Studies. He has defended his Ph.D thesis in November 2018, his topic was the past, present, and future of organic law. He also holds an LL.M degree of comparative constitutional law from the Central-European University, Budapest, and also an European- and Comparative law master 1. maitrise degree from the Université Panthéon Assas Paris II. He has published almost 100 academic contributions on either English and Hungarian language, and he has participated successfully as speaker in several international scientific forums.

Swapnil Tripathi is an attorney practising law in New Delhi, India. He read law at National Law University, Jodhpur (India) where he specialised in the Constitutional Law Hons. programme. He has served as a Teaching Assistant to Prof. I.P. Massey in the subjects of Comparative Constitutional Law and Administrative Laws and has also interned under Hon’ble Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud (Judge, Supreme Court of India). He is a regular columnist on issues of constitutional law for leading news agencies and also runs his personal blog titled “The ‘Basic’ Structure” where he explains core constitutional law concepts for a common man’s understanding.

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Published on January 5, 2020
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I-CONnect at the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC


–The Editors

The I-CONnect Editors will all be in Washington, DC, this week for the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools.

Tom Ginsburg will participate in a panel on “Representation, Voting, and Sustainable Constitutional Democracy” Sunday, January 5, from 1:30pm to 3:15pm in the Marriott Ballroom Salon 2. Other panelists include Guy-Uriel Charles (Duke), Pamela Karlan (Stanford), Michael Morley (Florida State) and Kim Lane Scheppele (Princeton).

David Landau will participate in a panel on Richard Albert’s book “Constitutional Amendments: Making, Breaking, and Changing Constitutions” (Oxford University Press, 2019) on Thursday, January 2, from 5:30pm to 7:15pm in Delaware Suite A. Other panelists include Erin Delaney (Northwestern), Eugene Mazo (Rutgers), and Julie Suk (CUNY).

And Richard Albert and David Landau will both participate in a panel on Mark Tushnet’s distinguished career as a scholar of comparative law. The panel will be held on Sunday, January 5, from 8:30am to 10:15am in Virginia Suite C. Other panelists include Erin Delaney (Northwestern), Vicki Jackson (Harvard), Sanford Levinson (Texas) and Yvonne Tew (Georgetown).

Friends of I-CONnect are invited to come say hello.

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Published on January 1, 2020
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The “Rationality of Fear” on the Edge of Brazilian Democracy: Another Shield Against Authoritarianism?

Juliano Zaiden Benvindo, University of Brasília and National Council for Scientific and Technological Development[1]

In a period of about two months, a series of protests in South America brought the region again into the spotlight. Except for the Bolivian case,[2] whose causes were mostly related to the presidential election process, the protests in Chile, Ecuador, and Colombia followed a pattern of dissatisfaction with austerity policies amid high levels of social inequality. In particular, the Chilean demonstrations called the international attention since it is deemed one of the most developed – though also unequal – countries in the region. The state reaction was also, even for regional standards, shocking: more than twenty people dead, over two thousand injured, many by gunshots. Military tanks were in the streets, a scene that reminded us of the Pinochet era and its remaining tentacles in modern Chile. Moreover, Argentina elected the left-leaning President Alberto Fernández, in a clear sign of dissatisfaction with former President Mauricio Macri’s economic policies. Brazil, on the other hand, has not recently experienced any significant protest, but, curiously enough, those events in the neighboring countries greatly impacted the Brazilian government. They raised the stakes of a relevant variable for political calculation: the “rationality of fear”. They also exposed an interesting phenomenon: a populist president who is afraid of the people.

In 1999, Rui J. P. de Figueiredo and Barry Weingast coined the expression “rationality of fear” in their outstanding paper The Rationality of Fear: Political Opportunism and Ethnic Conflict, in which they sought to explain why people choose bloody ethnic wars over peace.[3] In such extreme scenarios, where conventional wisdom might conclude that irrationality prevails, they argue instead that “fear causes citizens to act on ideas and claims they believe are more likely to be false than true.” [4] More interesting, they say “this is not irrational, but a rational response to the huge costs of being wrong.”[5] When people feel they will be likely harmed and become victims of such a violence, they will do whatever it takes, even extreme measures, to defend themselves.[6] They may also support a leader who will opportunistically take advantage of such a fear. This is what they call “gambling for resurrection”, i.e., leaders will “[attempt] to maintain power by inducing massive change in the environment that has only a small chance of succeeding.”[7]

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Published on December 31, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Analysis
 

What’s New in Public Law


Davide Bacis, PhD Student in Constitutional Law, University of Pavia, Italy

In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of developments in public law. “Developments” may include a selection of links to news, high court decisions, new or recent scholarly books and articles, and blog posts from around the public law blogosphere.

To submit relevant developments for our weekly feature on “What’s New in Public Law,” please email contact.iconnect@gmail.com.

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Constitutional Court of Thailand will rule on the dissolution of the opposition Future Forward Party.
  2. The Dutch Supreme Court ruled that the Government has the duty to protect its citizens’ human rights vis à vis climate change.
  3. The Turkish Constitutional Court ruled that law enforcement agents did not act with due diligence during Gezi Resistance.
  4. The Turkish Constitutional Court held that the ban on access to Wikipedia is a violation of freedom of expression.
  5. The Supreme Court of Liberia nullified the law barring dual citizenship.

In the News

  1. Manuel Marrero has been appointed Prime Minister of Cuba.
  2. The Italian Parliament gave final approval to the annual budget proposed by the Government.
  3. The Parliament of Iraq approved a new election law reshaping electoral districts.
  4. The Parliament o Turkey approved a security and military cooperation with Libya’s internationally recognized government.
  5. Bosnia’s Government has received the approval of Parliament after a 14-month impasse.
  6. The President of Armenia signed the bill on the retirement of Constitutional Court’s Justices.

New Scholarship

  1. Kent H. Barnett, Regulating Impartiality in Agency Adjudication, 69 Duke Law Journal (forthcoming 2020) (arguing how the executive branch can mitigate the constitutional struggles pertaining the conflict between agencies adjudication procedures and the due process)
  2. Geraldo Vidigal, Living Without the Appellate Body: Multilateral, Bilateral and Plurilateral Solutions to the WTO Dispute Settlement Crisis, 20 Journal of World Investment & Trade (2019) (discussing possible solutions to the possibility that the WTO Appellate Body will become non-operational)
  3. Julie Ringelheim, The Burden of Proof in antidiscrimination Proceedings. A Focus on Belgium, France and Ireland, 2 European Equality Law Review (2019) (offering some clarification on the rules governing the burden of proof in discrimination cases under EU law)
  4. Alice Ristroph, An Intellectual History of Mass Incarceration, 60 Boston College Law Review (2019) (exploring how the fundamental principles of criminal law contributed to the increase in mass incarceration)
  5. Petr Agha, Human Rights Between Law and Politics: The Margin of Appreciation in Post-National Contexts (2019) (showing how the Margin of Appreciation within the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights is an essential part of human rights adjudication)
  6. Amnon Lev (ed.), The Federal Idea: Public Law Between Governance and Political Life (2019) (collecting contributions from leading experts on federalism, exploring the foundations of federalism and developing new perspectives)

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Dublin Law and Politics Review invites submissions for the conference on “Rule of Law and Populism and Sustainable Finance” to be held in Dublin on March 24 and 25, 2020. Abstracts of no more than 500 words must be submitted within January 20, 2020.
  2. The Columbia Law School invites submissions for a work-in-progress Workshop: Comparative Constitutional Law in the Global South to be held in New York City on October 2, 2020. Abstracts of roughly two pages must be submitted by March 1, 2020.
  3. The University of Leicester will welcome participants to the conference on “When blockchain meets arbitration. The birth of decentralized justice” that will be held on January 31, 2020.
  4. The University of Granada invites submissions for the conference on “The Challenge of Global Cybersecurity” to be held in Granada on March 26 and 27, 2020. Abstracts of no more than 600 words must be submitted by February 1, 2020.
  5. The Australian National University (Canberra) invites submissions for the conference on “Public Law and Inequality” to be held in Canberra on December 8 and 9, 2020. Abstracts must be submitted by March 2, 2020.

Elsewhere Online

  1. David R. Cameron, House of Commons approves Withdrawal Agreement Bill, prohibits extension of transition period, Yale MacMillan Center
  2. Peter van Elsuwege, A Matter of Representative Democracy in the European Union. The Catalan Question before the Court of Justice, Verfassungsblog
  3. Pawel Marcisz, Discipline and Punish. New Polish Reforms of the Judiciary, Verfassungsblog
  4. Elspeth Guild, State-Empowered Actors in the European Court of Human Rights – State Sovereignty and Council of Europe Authority, EJIL: Talk!
  5. Vladislava Stoyanova, The Grand Chamber Judgement in Ilias and Ahmed v Hungary: Immigration Detention and how the Ground beneath our Feet Continues to Erode, Strasbourg Observer
  6. Adam Feldman, Empirical SCOTUS: The beginning of the 2019 term and how it stacks up, SCOTUSblog
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Published on December 30, 2019
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In Memoriam: Meir Shamgar (13 August 1925 – 18 October 2019)


–Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Department of Politics, University of Hull

I am deeply saddened by the death of Israel’s legal giant Meir Shamgar, a noble, wise and most knowledgeable doer. A mensch.

Shamgar’s life encapsulates the story of the State of Israel. He was born as Meron (Meir) Sternberg in 1925 in Danzig, now Gdansk in Poland, and grew up in this “Free City” where the majority of people were Germans. Things changed for the worse when the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933. In 1938, Shamgar’s parents decided to leave. At that time, this was still possible. The destination was Palestine. The Sternberg family arrived in Haifa in 1939. Young Meron felt that he came home. This was the right place for him.

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Published on December 30, 2019
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In Malaysia, Eastminster Prevails


–Ganesh Sahathevan, Fellow, American Center for Democracy

A decision of the Court of Appeal Malaysia handed down on 28 November 2019 suggests that “Eastminister” style exercise of powers by Malaysia’s Heads of State may no longer be the subject of judicial review once the Head of State’s preferred Head of Government can demonstrate by a simple head count that he or she has the numbers to defend against a vote of no confidence.

The term “Eastminster”[1] is used to demonstrate how Westminster conventions of responsible government have been applied in Malaysia over the past 55 years in a fashion that may well embarrass a British monarch, but which are becoming ever more entrenched in the laws of that country.

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Published on December 29, 2019
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To Convict a Dictator: Judges Versus Generals in Pakistan

Yasser Kureshi, Senior Teaching Fellow, SOAS University of London

On the 17th of December 2019, a special court in Pakistan found its former military dictator, General Musharraf (1999-2008), guilty of high treason for suspending the constitution in 2007.[1] In a country where the military has ruled with impunity for much of its history, this verdict was a dramatic development. In 2007, Musharraf’s regime retaliated to an increasingly assertive judiciary, by suspending the constitution and purging the judiciary. Musharraf’s actions backfired, galvanizing a pro-democracy movement that ultimately pushed the regime out of power in 2008. In 2009, a restored Supreme Court held that Musharraf’s actions were unconstitutional and ten years later, after protracted legal proceedings, a Special Court found Musharraf’s actions amounted to high treason, punishable by death.[2] One judge, in particularly gruesome terms, called for Musharraf’s body to be dragged and hanged for three days in a public square.[3] The military sees this judgment as an affront to the military, and declared the verdict a conspiracy by Pakistan’s enemies.[4] The battle-lines between the two institutions have been drawn, and the intensity of both the language of the judgment, and the response of the military, demonstrates how high the perceived stakes are for both institutions. Why does Musharraf’s case evoke such strong reactions from the judiciary and the military, and what impact will it have on democracy and constitutionalism in Pakistan?

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Published on December 28, 2019
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A Constitutional Challenge to the Transgender Persons Act in India


–Dhruva Gandhi (University of Oxford) and Unnati Ghia (National Law School of India University, Bangalore)

With presidential assent, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 passed by the Indian Parliament has now become law (“Act”). The Act leaves much to be desired. There is a lack of affirmative action measures across the employment and education sectors. There is no provision for any accommodative measures such as gender neutral washrooms. Moreover, the penal sanctions for sexual abuse are inadequate and there is a clear conflation of transgender persons with intersex individuals.

Unfortunate as they might be, legislative amendments appear to be the only way to cure these particular defects. In the interregnum though, there is some scope to reverse a few regressive measures by constitutional challenge.  

Admittedly, Section 4 of the Act is progressive in that it recognises the right to self-perceived gender identity of all transgender persons. What the Act has conferred on the one hand though, it has taken away on the other. Section 5 states that for a transgender person to identify themselves as per their perceived gender identity, they must make an application to the District Magistrate, comply with a prescribed procedure and obtain a ‘certificate of identity’. In this post, we outline how there can be a possible constitutional challenge to the Act under Part III (Fundamental Rights) of the Indian Constitution.

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Published on December 27, 2019
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Call for Nominations–2020 ICON-S Book Prize


ICON·S | The International Society for Public Law is pleased to open the Call for Nominations for its third annual Book Prize. In line with the Society’s mission, the prize will be awarded to an outstanding book in the field of public law, understood as a field of knowledge that transcends dichotomies between the national and the international as well as between administrative and constitutional Law. Preference will be given to scholarship which, in dealing with the challenges of public life and governance, combines elements from all of the above with a good dose of political theory and social science.

The Book Prize will be awarded at the Society’s next Annual Conference on July 9-11, 2020 in Wrocław, Poland, to the author(s) of a book or books published in the two calendar years prior to the conference (2018 and 2019). The winner will be selected by the Society’s Book Award Committee, chaired in 2020 by Anne Peters.

Eligibility Criteria

Monographs on public law as defined above written in any language are eligible for nomination. Only books published up to two years prior to the year of the annual meeting are eligible for nomination. The relevant criterion is the official publication year as stated in the book’s front-matter. Repeated nominations in consecutive years are not permitted. Books nominated for the 2018 and 2019 Book Prize are not eligible. Nominated books must moreover be the first original edition.

Nomination Procedure

Members of the Society’s Executive Committee and Council, groups of at least three ICON-S members, book review editors of academic journals, as well as scholarly publishers are invited to nominate books, up to a maximum of 5 (five) each. The Book Prize Committee is authorized to consider books that have not been nominated and that it considers particularly worthy of consideration. Please note that authors are not eligible to nominate their own books. Please note also that edited books are not eligible for consideration. The Society especially welcomes nominations of scholarly works by female- and male-identifying scholars.

Nominations may be made via e-mail to bookprize@icon-society.org with the following subject line: Book Prize ATTN: Chair of the Book Prize Committee. Nominations must include a justification of 400-500 words explaining the basis for the nomination.

The deadline for the submission of nominations is January 31, 2020.

Please note that the nominators must send (or make arrangements with the publisher to send) one hardcopy for each member of the Book Prize Committee no later than February 29, 2020 directly to each of the members of the committee. Addresses will be provided after nomination. E-Books or scans can substitute hardcopies with the approval of the Chair. Failure to deliver the required number of hardcopies or substitutes will lead to non-consideration of the proposal.

The Call for Nominations for the ICON·S Book Prize can be downloaded here (PDF).

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Published on December 24, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments