Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

The Chief Justice of the Brazilian Supreme Court: Institutional and Constitutional Self-Destruction

Emilio Peluso Neder Meyer & Thomas da Rosa de Bustamante, Federal University of Minas Gerais and Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq)

The emergence of undemocratic political practices in Brazil, at least from the point of view of the executive branch, has become a general concern. One specific behavior that has attracted the attention of academics in the past few months is the way the Chief Justice of the Brazilian Supreme Court, Justice Dias Toffoli, has engaged in political negotiations and interfered in political crises.

In a recent interview to Veja magazine, Justice Toffoli made some controversial statements. After participating in an endeavor to build a ‘pact’ between the three branches to overcome the ‘immediate challenges’ of the country (the need to  reform the pensions system, the fiscal system and criminal laws) and advocating a ‘moderating’ role for the Federal Supreme Court, Justice Toffoli stated that the court would avoid making rulings that could potentially curb the project of economic development. He also stated that he had had personal conversations with several congressmembers in order to reestablish the authority of President Jair Bolsonaro in the face of serious dissatisfaction with his government, manifested by top echelon military authorities. Finally, he defended an investigation procedure created inside the Brazilian Supreme Court to look into supposed threats and fake news that would taint the members of the court.

Moreover, on August 12, 2019, in a conference for investors in Santander Bank, in São Paulo, Justice Toffoli argued that it would be necessary to ‘dehydrate’ (desidratar)[1] the Brazilian Constitution of 1988, since several economic issues should not figure in the Constitution. He also claimed that he would be in agreement with President Bolsonaro and his Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, to amend the Constitution and remove from its text the provisions about taxation and related subjects. Such a series of constitutional amendments, in his view, would help ‘unlock’ the Brazilian economy. Finally, he declared that the Brazilian Supreme Court should be prudent, respect the other branches, and learn ‘how to read’ the electoral results of 2018.

Recent authoritarian practices follow a pattern which is significantly different from that adopted by Justice Dias Toffoli. In Hungary, for instance, the Constitution of 2010 offered no protection for judicial independence; the Fourth Amendment of 2013 nullified the entirety of the case law of the Constitutional Court between 1990 and 2011 and severely restricted constitutional review. In Poland, in a similar way, procedural rules limited the power of courts to review the acts of the executive, and the Constitutional Court was eventually captured by the PiS government.[2] And in the USA, concerns about President Trump’s nominations to the federal courts have grown during his term. In these recent experiences, autocratic attacks on the rule of law came from outside of the judicial branch.

The Brazilian case seems, however, to illustrate a different trend: an interesting situation in which the highest court serves its head on a tray to autocratic politicians.

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The Tour to Save the World: Colombia Wins the Yellow Jersey for the Rights of Nature

Julia Torres, PhD Student, University of Canterbury and Elizabeth Macpherson, Senior Lecturer, University of Canterbury School of Law

Colombian cyclist Egan Arley Bernal Gómez, this year’s winner of the Tour de France, has captured the world’s attention as the first Latin American to don its leading yellow jersey. What readers may not know is that Colombia also wears the yellow jersey in the race for protection of Mother Earth, blazing the trail for the rights of nature. In response to weak environmental regulation and lack of decisive government action on climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation, Colombia is arguably the most judicially and politically active nation in granting legal personhood and rights of nature.

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Published on August 23, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Analysis

Ex-President Arrested in Kyrgyzstan: Constitutional Tribunal in Central Asia in the Center of High Politics

–Alisher Juzgenbayev, Nazarbayev University

Ex-President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev was arrested on August 9th as a result of a security forces raid, which left one person dead.  The former President, who served as a head of state from 2011 to 2017, was stripped of his immunity by the Parliament in June earlier this year. He is now being charged with corruption, release of criminals during his Presidency, and organization of a coup d’état.

Meanwhile, Atambayev and his supporters insist on Atambayev’s immunity from criminal prosecution. They asked the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic to declare unconstitutional the law adopted in April that retroactively amended Atambayev’s status and allowed Parliament to strip him of his immunity[1]. After Atambayev’s arrest, his daughter publicly condemned the raid and insisted that the authorities abused their power by failing to wait for the decision of the Chamber on the matter first[2]. How did the Constitutional Chamber find itself in the center of high politics in Kyrgyzstan, an unusual place for post-Soviet constitutional courts?

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Published on August 22, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments

What’s New in Public Law

Vicente F. Benítez R., JSD candidate at NYU School of Law and Constitutional Law Professor at Universidad de La Sabana

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

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Supreme Court of Peru postponed a decision on whether opposition leader Keiko Fujimori should be released from prison.
  2. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico held that Pedro Pierluisi’s appointment as Governor of Puerto Rico is unconstitutional. As a result, Wanda Vázquez Garced was sworn in as new Governor.     
  3. The Supreme Federal Court of Brazil blocked the governmental investigations against journalist Glenn Greenwald as they constituted ‘an unambiguous act of censorship’.
  4. The Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear a challenge against a decision issued by a provincial high court that upheld the firing of a newborn’s parent due to their refusal to take an out-of-province work assignment.
  5. The Supreme Court of India upheld a regulation that grants ‘financial creditor’ status to homebuyers in those situations when the construction company –in charge of building housing– faces financial difficulties.
  6. The Constitutional Court of Armenia requested an advisory opinion to the European Court of Human Rights on the Criminal Code’s provision that criminalizes the overthrowing of the constitutional order.
  7. The Supreme Court of India refused to issue an interim decision lifting some of the restrictions currently imposed on Jammu and Kashmir.   
  8. The Supreme Tribunal of Justice of Venezuela decided to strip three opposition deputies of their congressional immunity.  
  9. The Supreme Court of Israel overruled a decision of a lower court that allowed the gender segregation of the attendees to a government-organized concert.   
  10. The Constitutional Court of Colombia held that commercial establishments must permit the use of their restrooms not only to children, pregnant women or older adults but also to people with disabilities, regardless of whether they are customers of the said establishments.  
  11. The Constitutional Court of South Africa heard a challenge against an electoral statute that prevents independent candidates from running for elections.          
  12. The Constitutional Chamber (Sala IV) of the Supreme Court of Costa Rica ruled that the government infringed the Constitution because it did not take effective and proportionate measures to lift the road blockades implemented by truck drivers and students.   
  13. The Supreme Court of Mexico ordered the country’s Heath Department to regulate the medical use of marijuana.
  14. The Supreme Court of Gibraltar concluded that an Iranian tanker seized in the coasts of Gibraltar is free to sail.

In the News

  1. The Parliament of Myanmar approved the Constitutional Amendment Committee’s Report, which included nearly 4,000 recommendations to amend the Constitution.
  2. Special Russian Envoy, Geir Pedersen, declared that Syria’s new constitutional committee might convene soon.
  3. In Argentina, opposition candidate Alberto Fernández defeated current President Macri in the primary polls.
  4. Conservative candidate Alejandro Giammattei was elected as new President of Guatemala.
  5. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled plans to “overhaul the criminal justice system” in England and Wales by reviewing sentencing policy, prisons and stop-and-search powers.
  6. China has described some of the anti-government protests in Hong Kong as ‘terrorism’.
  7. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged Hong Kong to investigate the use of excessive force against protesters.
  8. The President of, India Ram Nath Kovind, signed an Act that increases the number of Supreme Court judges from 31 to 34.
  9. US Attorney General William Barr recognized the existence of serious irregularities at the jail where Jeffrey Epstein died and promised that the Department of Justice would investigate the matter.  
  10. The Law Association of Zambia asked the Speaker of the National Assembly to halt any parliamentary discussions on the Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 10. This request is grounded on the fact that the Constitutional Court is currently reviewing the constitutionality this Bill. Despite this, Brian Mundubile, Chief Whip of the ruling Patriotic Front Party, said the National Assembly would continue holding discussions on the amendment proposal.     
  11. The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, pledged to propose and speed up a Diet debate on some amendments to the Constitution. 
  12. A Federal Prosecutor in Brazil filed a claim to prevent the appointment of President Bolsonaro’s son as new Brazilian ambassador to the United States.
  13. The Constituent Assembly of Venezuela (controlled by the regime of Nicolas Maduro) announced it plans to summon a committee to decide whether to bring forward the legislative elections initially scheduled for December 2020.
  14. In Liberia, the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) expressed its support to President George Weah’s proposed constitutional amendments aimed at reducing the tenure of the Presidency, Senate and House of Representatives.
  15. The Ethics Commissioner of Canada, Mario Dion, released a report that concluded that Prime Minister Trudeau exerted improper influence in the SNC-Lavalin case.  
  16. The Government of Nepal is preparing legislation to incorporate the Geneva Conventions into domestic law.
  17. The Italian Senate postponed a motion of no confidence that could trigger a snap election of Parliament.  
  18. The President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, refused to appoint the new Minister of Culture nominated by PM Andrej Babis.  
  19. The President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, proposed to move the capital city of the country from Jakarta to the island of Borneo.
  20. Amidst deep criticisms coming from Congress and other opposition parties, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, asserted that the abrogation of article 370 would consolidate the spirit of “One Nation, One Constitution”.  

New Scholarship

  1. Mary L. Volcansek, Judicialization of Politics or Politicization of the Courts in New Democracies?, in Christine Landfried (ed.), Judicial Power – How Constitutional Courts Affect Political Transformations (2019) (arguing that constitutional courts that push the margins of their authority aggressively may lead to the politicization of the courts, which may, in turn, result in an erosion of judicial legitimacy, particularly in new democracies)
  2. Zhiqiong June Wang & Jianfu Chen, Will the Establishment of Circuit Tribunals Break Up the Circular Reforms in the Chinese Judiciary? Asian Journal of Comparative Law (2019) (examining the objectives for the establishment of circuit tribunals of the Supreme People’s Court of China and the politico-legal functions of such tribunals in the context of judicial reforms that were first launched in 1999)
  3. Angela Di Gregorio (Ed.), The Constitutional Systems of Central-Eastern, Baltic and Balkan countries (2019) (analyzing the constitutional systems of 17 countries in this region adding an epilogue dealing specifically with constitutional retrogressions in Hungary and Poland)
  4. Wilson Tze Vern Tay, Basic Structure Revisited: The Case of Semenyih Jaya and the Defence of Fundamental Constitutional Principles in Malaysia, Asian Journal of Comparative Law (2019) (analyzing the Federal Court of Malaysia’s landmark decision in Semenyih Jaya v Pentadbir Tanah Daerah Hulu Langat, decision that gave substantive effect to the ‘basic structure doctrine’ for the first time in Malaysia)
  5. Ana Micaela Alterio, Reactive vs structural approach: A public law response to populism, Global Constitutionalism (2019) (advancing a public law response to populism involving new institutional systems that generate strong participatory mechanisms to incorporate ‘the popular’, and using the new Latin American Constitutionalism as an example of both the potentialities and difficulties of designing institutional systems in public law)
  6. Sungmoon Kim, From Remonstrance to Impeachment: A Curious Case of “Confucian Constitutionalism” in South Korea, Law & Social Inquiry (2019) (exploring whether the model of Confucian constitutionalism is still relevant in Korea, especially in light of the Constitutional Court’s recent decision to uphold the motion to impeach the president rather than merely offering remonstrance or warning)
  7. Michael P. Foran, The Rule of Good Law: Form, Substance and Fundamental Rights, The Cambridge Law Journal (2019) (addressing the effect that conformity to the rule of law has on the ends which might legitimately be pursued within a legal system)
  8. Kim Lane Scheppele, Autocracy under Cover of the Transnational Legal Order, in Gregory Shaffer, Tom Ginsburg & Terence C. Halliday (eds.), Constitution-Making and Transnational Legal Order (2019) (arguing that the constitutional consulting community has created a particular form of “transnational legal order” that has allowed the new autocrats to escape detection – and even to thrive)
  9. Maayan Geva, Military Lawyers Making Law: Israel’s Governance of the West Bank and Gaza, Law & Social Inquiry (2019) (examining Israeli military lawyers’ practice of international humanitarian law (IHL) revolving around the West Bank and Gaza, and interrogating these lawyers’ work—the stories that they tell about law, their legal interpretations and their interactions with military decision-makers)
  10. Sujit Choudhry, Postcolonial Proportionality: Johar, Transformative Constitutionalism and Same Sex Rights in India, in Philipp Dann (ed.), The Global South and Comparative Constitutional Law (Forthcoming) (examining the landmark Johar decision of the Indian Supreme Court, and exploring the interactions between the principle of proportionality and transformative constitutionalism in light of the anti-colonial and cosmopolitan thrust of the Constitution of India)
  11. Pranoto Iskandar, Religious constitutionalism: An Indonesian-esque interpretive venture, Oxford University Comparative Law Forum (2019) (arguing that the religious-friendly model that is based on pan-religious values has failed, and showing how Indonesia’s temporary accommodation of religion as a solution to the Islamists insistence has somewhat become fossilised in the political system)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites submissions for its conference on “Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change” to be held at the University of Texas Law School on January 17-18, 2020. The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2019.
  2. University of Belgrade Faculty of Law and Serbian Association for Legal and Social Philosophy (IVR Serbia) call for papers for their upcoming Sixth Student Conference in Theory and Philosophy of Law on the topic ‘Judiciary between law and politics’. The conference will take place on the 6th of December 2019. The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2019.
  3. Cornell Law School, the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell and the Program in Ethics & Public Life co-host the first Cornell Conference in Philosophy of Law to be held in Ithaca, NY on May 15-17, 2020, and invite interested scholars to submit their paper proposals on or before 31 December 2019.  
  4. The Institute for International Humanitarian Studies (CERIC, UMR DICE 7318, AMIDEX) of Aix-en-Provence Law School welcomes submissions for the forthcoming INSIDE Workshop in Compliance Theories in International Human Rights Law to be held at Aix-en-Provence Law School on 2 April 2020. Proposals must be sent by September 20, 2019.   
  5. The Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law calls for papers for its conference titled ‘Mixed Arbitral Tribunals, 1919–1930: An Experiment in the International Adjudication of Private Rights’. Submissions must be sent by October 1, 2019.
  6. The Universitá Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II calls for applicants for six four-year funded PhD positions in global history and governance. The deadline to send applications is September 2, 2019.
  7. The Chevening Network in Brazil and Oxford University invite scholars to submit proposals for their conference ‘Global Security Challenges of the 21st Century: New Problems, Innovative Solutions’. Authors are invited to submit a paper or an extended abstract no later than 15 September 2019.
  8. The University of Connecticut School of Law (UConn Law) is pleased to honor Professor Richard Kay and, to celebrate his work, it will hold a conference titled “Original Constitutionalist: Reconstructing Richard Kay’s Scholarship” on September 13, 2019. Register, please, by September 6, 2019.
  9. The Graduate Institute Geneva and the Institute for Global Law & Policy at Harvard Law School, in the framework of their new collaborative initiative ‘The Global Scholars Academy’, welcome applications for a three-day intensive scholars Workshop. The Workshop’s themes are ‘Power and Domination in a Globalized World’ and ‘Social Justice: The Challenges of Poverty, Inequality and Development’. Applications and recommendation letter(s) are due by September 20, 2019.
  10. The WZB Berlin Social Science Center is offering a position for a Research Fellow (post-doc) (f/m/x) at the Center for Global Constitutionalism headed by Professor Mattias Kumm. Applications must be sent by September 16, 2019.
  11. The student chapter of the American Constitution Society and Law Review at Barry University School of Law and Texas A&M University School of Law are hosting the Fifth Annual Constitutional Law Scholars Forum. The Constitutional Law Scholars Forum invites scholarly proposals on constitutional law at any stage of pre-publication development, from the germination of an idea to the editing stage. The deadline to submit proposals is December 1, 2019.
  12. The London School of Economics (LSE) calls for abstracts for its Conference ‘State Accountability under Private, Public, and International Law’, which will take place on November 9, 2019. Interested scholars should send an abstract of no more than 750 words by 30 August 2019.
  13. The Cambridge Law Review, an independent academic journal run by students of the University of Cambridge, invites submissions for the second issue of Volume IV. The window for submissions is open from 01 June until 22 September 2019.    
  14. The ASIL International Law in Domestic Courts Annual Workshop will take place on 6 December 2019 at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Interested scholars are invited to send their abstracts by September 6, 2019.    
  15. The University of Manchester Law School welcomes applications from candidates with expertise in the UK, European, or global constitutional law for a Chair in Constitutional Law. Applications must be submitted by 12 September 2019.   
  16. The British Academy invites interested early-career researchers to apply to its Postdoctoral Fellowships. Selected postdoctoral fellows will conduct research in the framework of the areas of interest of the Constitution Unit.
  17. The Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (in cooperation with the Minerva Center for Human Rights in Israel) invites applications for a position to start in October 2019 as a Research Fellow (PhD student) in Transitional Justice with Professor Anne Peters. The application deadline is September 15, 2019.     

Elsewhere Online

  1. Michele Krech, FIFA for Women or Women for FIFA? The Inherent Tensions of FIFA’s Women’s Football Strategy, Verfassungsblog
  2. Gustavo Prieto, The Colombian Constitutional Court Judgment C-252/19: A new frontier for reform in international investment law, EJIL: Talk!
  3. Petra Bárd & Anna Śledzińska-Simon, The Puissance of Infringement Procedures in Tackling Rule of Law Backsliding, Reconnect
  4. Madhav Khosla, The constitutional questions that arise from the end of Jammu and Kashmir as a state, The Print
  5. Antje Brown, Devolution, climate change and the climate emergency, Centre on Constitutional Change
  6. Wojciech Sadurski, What went wrong with Poland’s democracy, OUPblog
  7. Alison Berthet, Emerging Voices: Momentum Builds for Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence, OpinioJuris
  8. Yohannes Gedamu, Why Sidama statehood demand threatens to unravel Ethiopia’s federal system, The Conversation
  9. Anna Dziedzic, Pacific courts need more women judges, The Interpreter
  10. Amy Hawkins, The World Is Reaping the Chaos the British Empire Sowed, Foreign Policy
  11. Gillian Triggs, Why an Australian charter of rights is a matter of national urgency, The Conversation
  12. Giuseppe Martinico, Resentment, Populism and Political Strategies in Italy, Verfassungsblog
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Published on August 19, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments

Call for Papers–Conference on Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change–The University of Texas at Austin–January 17-18, 2020

The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism

invites submissions for

Conference on Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change

The University of Texas Law School
Austin, Texas
January 17-18, 2020

Submissions are invited from faculty and graduate students for a two-day conference on “Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change,” to be held in Austin at the University of Texas Law School.

The program will feature: (1) concurrent panels in which submitted works-in-progress will be the focus of discussion; and (2) a series of plenary lectures delivered by the Comparative Constitutionalism faculty at the University of Texas at Austin.

This conference is convened by Professor Richard Albert (Texas) and is generously sponsored by The University of Texas Law School.

Subject-Matter of the Conference

Submissions are welcome on any subject of constitutional change, broadly defined, including but not limited to constitutional amendment, constitutional reform, constitutional conventions, constitutional transitions, constitution-making, judicial interpretation and review, unwritten constitutional norms, revolution, and forms of direct democracy including referendums.

Eligibility for the Conference

Submissions are invited from faculty as well as students enrolled in graduate programs in various disciplines (including but not limited to history, law, political science, and sociology). Submissions are welcomed on any subject related to the conference theme. Submissions may take comparative, doctrinal, empirical, historical, philosophical, sociological, theoretical, or other perspectives.


The Comparative Constitutionalism faculty at the University of Texas at Austin is diverse across many dimensions including nationality, methodology, jurisdictional focus, and normative commitments but it is lacking in other forms of diversity, most notably gender and racial diversity. The conference will presumptively accept submissions whose authors will diversify the group on those two fronts. It is a goal of the convener, in his capacity as a member of the Appointments Committee, to work towards increasing the diversity of the Comparative Constitutionalism faculty.

Structure of the Conference

The conference will be structured around plenary lectures and concurrent panels comprised of faculty and graduate students in law, history, political science, and other fields of interest.

Each of the plenary lectures will focus on different dimensions of the subject of constitution-making and constitutional change.  Plenary lectures will be delivered by members of the Law and Government faculties at the University of Texas at Austin, including Sanford Levinson and Gary Jacobsohn.

In addition to the keynote lectures, the two-day conference will feature concurrent panels composed of papers selected from this Call. The purpose of the panels is to convene groups of faculty and graduate students for a high-level discussion on enduring and emerging questions raised by the conference theme. Panels will be chaired by members of the Law and Government faculties at the University of Texas at Austin. These panels will offer participants a combination of rigorous scholarly exchange and group discussion on the ideas in the papers. Conference meals will offer an opportunity for more relaxed social interaction.

Submission Instructions

Interested scholars should email a title and abstract no longer than 500 words by September 1, 2019 to on the understanding that the abstract will form the basis of the pre-conference draft or outline to be submitted by November 15, 2019. Scholars should identify their submission with the following subject line: “Conference on Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change—Abstract Submission.” All materials should be submitted as a single PDF document, and should include at the top of the first page the author’s name, academic title, institutional affiliation, mailing address, and email address. There is no minimum or maximum length for drafts or outlines (to be submitted by November 15), nor are there plans to publish the papers to be presented at the conference.


Successful applicants will be notified no later than September 15, 2019.


There is no cost to participate in this conference. Group meals will be generously sponsored by The University of Texas Law School. Participants will also be eligible to apply for reimbursement of their travel costs up to $250.


Please direct inquiries in connection with this Conference to:

Richard Albert
William Stamps Farish Professor in Law and Professor of Government
The University of Texas at Austin
Phone/WhatsApp: +1 617-756-2622

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Published on August 16, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments

The Puerto Rican Summer: Political Upheaval and Constitutional Reassurance

–Jorge M. Farinacci-Fernós, Assistant Professor, Interamerican University of Puerto Rico Law School

For the past 15 years, Puerto Rico has been on a permanent economic crisis, with a noticeable increase in austerity, social tension, economic disparity, corruption and political stalemate. In 2017, Puerto Rico suffered its worst natural disaster with hurricanes Irma and María. U.S. government indifference and local government incompetence required that Puerto Ricans learn how to develop a new social and community structure.

A little more than a month ago, all seemed “normal”. Then, in early July 2019, something happened. A “Telegraph” chat between the Governor and his closet aides (all men) was leaked to the public. It was devastating. It was full of sexist, homophobic, racist, elitist and nasty comments. Political opponents, the press, poor people, activists, among others, were targeted. More egregiously, the chat revealed a system of corruption, manipulation and contempt for the average people. The tipping point were jokes about the thousands that died as the result of government incompetence after hurricane María.

Thus began the Puerto Rican summer of 2019.

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Published on August 14, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments

Sudan’s Constitutional Charter is a Ray of Hope but Tough Times Lie Ahead

–Waikwa Wanyoike, Strategic Litigation Director, Open Society Justice Initiative – London

On August 4, 2019, an historic agreement was signed in Sudan between the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) and the Military Transition Council (MTC). The FFC is the revolutionary group that triggered the removal of the long-term autocratic leader Ahmad Al Bashir. The MTC had quickly taken over after the fall of Al Bashir, however the FFC and other civilian groups rejected MTC. This resulted in the death of at least 128 civilians involved in protests by the paramilitary forces on June 3, 2019. The outcry from this tragedy saw the military forces agree to a negotiation and a power sharing deal signed on July 17, 2019.

What was unveiled on August 4th is the Constitutional Charter for the 2019 transition period. This is a key document to Sudan’s future. Though completed within a short time, it is impressively elaborate. It spells out the significant rules that will govern the transition. It is also fundamental for another reason: it replaces the prior 2005 Transitional Constitution of Sudan as well as those of the provinces, and becomes the guiding legal text through which Sudan will be governed for the next 39 months, the stipulated transition period.

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Published on August 13, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Analysis

What’s New in Public Law

Chiara Graziani, Ph.D. Candidate and Research Fellow in Constitutional Law, University of Genoa, 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

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Supreme Court of India held that the right to privacy is not absolute.
  2. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico will hear an appeal regarding the legitimacy of the de facto Governor Pedro R. Pierluisi.
  3. The Supreme Court of Kenia dismissed a petition aimed to nullify the Governor’s election.
  4. The Supreme Court of Brazil rejected a request for the extradition of an opponent of the Turkish President Erdogan.
  5. The Supreme Court of India will hear a case involving allegations of rape against a politician.
  6. The High Court of Australia upheld the dismissal of a public servant over tweets criticizing government immigration policy.
  7. The U.S. Supreme Court was asked to determine whether or not the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to the Internet and apps.
  8. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case on 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassy in Tanzania and Kenia.
  9. The Supreme Court of the Philippines was asked to review a decision dismissing a plea brought by the National Union of People’s Lawyers.
  10. The European Court of Justice held that a website featuring a Facebook “Like” button can be a controller, jointly with Facebook, in respect to personal data of the website’s visitors.
  11. The Constitutional Court of Turkey held that the government’s failure to enable the election of a new Armenian patriarch pursuant to Turkish-Armenian tradition and religious requirements constituted a violation of religious freedom.

In the News

  1. Sudanese rival parties signed a constitutional declaration for the transition to civilian rule.
  2. A group of UK MPs started a legal action aimed at preventing Boris Johnson from forcing the Parliament through a no-deal Brexit.
  3. Alabama’s system of election for appellate court was challenged before a federal judge.
  4. A U.S. appeals court ruled on Google’s class-action settlement on the use of cookies and referred the case back to a lower court.
  5. The Republican Party and President Donald Trump sued the government of California over a new law requiring candidates for the U.S. presidency to release their income tax return.
  6. New Zealand plans a reform to decriminalize abortion.
  7. The Federal Bureau of Investigation said they will open a domestic terrorism investigation into the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting that left three people dead.
  8. The Indian President signed a decree revoking Kashmir’s special status.
  9. A Turkish court imposed access block on new portals and social media.
  10. The Indian Parliament passed a bill to increase the number of Supreme Court judges.

New Scholarship

  1. Ronald T.P. Alcala, Eric Talbot Jensen (eds.), The Impact of Emerging Technologies on the Law of Armed Conflict (2019 forthcoming) (addressing the use of cutting-edge technology, such as cyber capabilities, autonomous weapons and artificial intelligence, in conflict operations)
  2. Alexander Brown, Adriana Sinclair, The Politics of Hate Speech Law (2019 forthcoming) (assessing how the political framework impacts on the definition of hate speech and the way to deal with it)
  3. Graham Butler, An Interim Post-Mortem: Specialised Courts in the EU Judicial Architecture after the Civil Service Tribunal, International Organizations Law Review (2019) (analysing the reform of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the role of the First Advocate General, the review procedure “le réexamen,” and the potential for certiorari in EU law)
  4. Stephen Coutts, Citizenship, Crime and Community in the European Union (2019) (addressing the interaction between European Union citizenship and criminal law)
  5. Charles Gardner Geyh, Who Is to Judge (2019) (engaging in the debate on judge selection in America)
  6. Benjamin J. Goold, Liora Lazarus (eds.), Security and Human Rights (2019) (collecting essays from leading academics and practitioners in several fields of law, shedding light on the challenging relationship between security and rights)
  7. Robert Kolb, International Law on the Maintenance of Peace. Jus Contra Bellum (2019) (studying the maintenance of peace in international relations from different perspectives)
  8. Stephen Meili, Constitutionalized Human Rights Law in Mexico: Hope for Central American Refugees?, Harvard Human Rights Journal (2019) (analysing the recent amendment to the Mexican Constitution introducing the right to asylum and discussing its practical effect on the protection of refugees)
  9. Vincenzo Ruggiero (ed.), Organized Crime and Terrorist Networks (2019) (exploring the close relationship between organized crime and terrorism)
  10. Martin Scheinin (ed.), Human Rights Norms in ‘Other’ International Courts (2019) (examining how international courts other than human rights courts deal with human rights norms)
  11. Nimer Sultany, What Good is Abstraction? From Liberal Legitimacy to Social Justice, Buffalo Law Review (2019) (arguing that political liberalism’s abstraction creates a gap between liberalism’s institutional commitments to legitimacy and its theoretical aspirations to justice)
  12. Elizabeth Stubbins Bates, Distorted Terminology: The UK’s Closure of Investigations into Alleged Torture and Inhumane Treatment in Iraq, International and Comparative Law Quarterly 3 (2019) (examining the closure of investigations into alleged ill-treatment of detainees by British troops in Iraq from the perspective of international humanitarian, human rights, and criminal law)

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. The International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism invites submissions for its conference on “Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change” to be held at the University of Texas Law School on January 17-18, 2020. The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2019.
  2. The Melbourne Institute of Comparative Constitutional Law calls for applications for its Young Scholars Forum, to be held in Melbourne on December 9-11, 2019. The deadline for submissions is August 11, 2019.
  3. The British Institute of International and Comparative Law is recruiting a research fellow in environmental and climate change law. Applications close on August 18, 2019.
  4. The London School of Economics and Political Science invites submissions of abstracts for the conference “State Accountability under Private, Public, and International Law”, which will be held in London on November 9, 2019. The deadline to send abstracts is August 30, 2019.
  5. The University of Oslo calls for applications for Ph.D. fellowships at the Faculty of Law. The deadline to apply is September 1, 2019.
  6. The University of Strasbourg invites submissions for fellowships in comparative law. Applications must be sent no later than September 10, 2019.
  7. The Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law calls for applications for its Scholarship Exchange Program. The deadline is September 15, 2019.
  8. The European Society of International Law sponsors the Conference “The Future of Europe as a Place of Refuge”, taking place in Prague, Charles University, on December 5-6, 2019. Submissions must be sent no later than September 15, 2019.
  9. The first issue of “NAD. Nuovi Autoritarismi e Democrazie” is now available. The journal welcomes submissions for its 2/2019 issue. The deadline is October 15, 2019.
  10. The Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Public Law invites submissions for its workshop on comparative business and financial law, to be held in Akron, Ohio, on February 7-8, 2020. The deadline to submit applications is October 25, 2019.
  11. The Society of Legal Scholars organizes the Conference “Central Questions about Law,” to be held in Preston, at the University of Central Lancashire, on September 3-6, 2019.
  12. The IACL-AIDC roundtable will take place in Cusco, Peru, on October 24-26, 2019.
  13. A new IACL research group on “New Frontiers of Federalism” was established.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Karen Allen, Terrorism and organised crime: risks of shared responses, Institute for Security Studies
  2. Anna-Maria Andreeva, The changing nature of courtroom evidence, Asser Today
  3. Alden Fletcher, Is the Threat of ‘Fake Science’ Real?, Lawfare
  4. Bruce Hoffman, The Domestic U.S. Terror Threat: What to Know, Council on Foreign Relations
  5. Johanna Jacobsson, The Temporary Movement of Service Sector Workers After Brexit, DCU Brexit Institute Blog
  6. Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz, On the Rule of Law Turn on Kirchberg – Part II: How the Court of Justice is Spelling out the Constitution’s Unwritten Understanding(s), Verfassungsblog
  7. Katrina Mulligan, Trump’s DNI Pick Would Brief Dem Nominee Ahead of 2020, Just Security
  8. Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, The Massive Perils of the Latest U.N. Resolution on Terrorism, Just Security
  9. Meg Russell, Robert Hazell, Can Boris Johnson ignore parliament and force a no deal Brexit?, Constitution Unit
  10. Adam Smith, The “long arm” of the police: how “confidential” are family proceedings? UK Human Rights Blof
  11. Eva van Vugt, Reforming the Dutch Constitution to ensure ‘Future Readiness’ of its Democracy, Constitutionnet
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Published on August 12, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments

New Appointment to the Supreme Court of Denmark

Simon Drugda, PhD Candidate at the University of Copenhagen

The Supreme Court (SC) of Denmark will have a new judge. The Judicial Appointments Council (JAC) has recommended Ombudsman Jørgen Steen Sørensen for the position late in June. The appointment is not final, however, as Sørensen must first prove his merit by voting with the SC in four “trial” cases. After the quota, SC judges will have a choice to confirm Sørensen to the position.

In this contribution, I examine the procedure for appointment of SC judges in Denmark, which has several interesting features. All Danish judges, except for the SC President, are appointed by the Minister of Justice, on the recommendation of JAC, in on an open call for applications. However, the SC has a decisive influence over the appointment of its own judges: due to 1) the informal pre-selection that precedes Council recommendation; 2) the composition of the JAC; 3) and the practice of trial-vote.

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Published on August 9, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments

The Death Penalty in Sri Lanka: Hanging by a Thread

–Mario Gomez, Executive Director, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Sri Lanka

In December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly (GA) voted overwhelmingly once again, for a universal moratorium on the use of the death penalty.[1] 121 countries voted in favour, 35 voted against, and 32 abstained. This resolution was a sequel to several previous GA resolutions going back to 2007, where the world body had voted to enforce a moratorium against the death penalty. Sri Lanka voted in favour in 2016 and 2018, having previously abstained.[2]

The GA resolution called on states to ‘establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty’[3] and to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR that seeks to abolish the death penalty. The 2018 resolution pressed states that have abolished the death penalty not to reintroduce it and encouraged states which have a moratorium to maintain it.[4]  It also called on states to ensure that those facing the death penalty can exercise their right to apply for pardon or commutation of their death sentence using fair and transparent procedures.[5] 

Sri Lanka and the Death Penalty

The death penalty remains a part of the Sri Lankan legal regime: trial courts are required to impose it for convictions of murder, and it can be imposed in the case of drug related offences.[6] However, the country’s last execution was in 1976 and successive Presidents since then, have refrained from implementing it or commuted the sentence to life imprisonment.

Around June 2018, President Maithripala Sirisena announced that he proposed to revive the death penalty for those convicted of drug-related offences.

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Published on August 8, 2019
Author:          Filed under: Developments