FK - FS paper Rome 140604

keuleneer

DRAFT

THE EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION, NEW INTERNATIONAL LAW

AND GLOBAL ARCHITECTURE

Fernand Keuleneer 1

“International Law, Democratic Accountability,

and Moral Diversity”

June 13-14, 2004

A Constitution for Europe

The members of the enlarged European Union are currently rediscussing

the “Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for

Europe” (the “Constitution”), which was submitted by the

President of the ad-hoc European Convention on the Future of

Europe, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, to the European Council

meeting held in Thessaloniki on June 20, 2003.

For understandable reasons, most of the discussions have been

focused on the functioning of the Union’s political

institutions; in addition, there is the highly symbolic,

though in view of possible future enlargement perhaps not

merely academic, debate about including a reference to

Christianity in the preamble of the Constitution.

Much less attention is given to the provisions of the

Constitution which deal with fundamental rights and

citizenship of the Union, and with the relationship among the

law of the European Union (“Union law”), international law,

and the laws of the Member States.

1

Fernand Keuleneer (tel: 32-2-209 11 22; e-mail:

fernand.keuleneer@ks4v.be) is practising law in Brussels with the firm

Keuleneer-Storme-Vanneste-Van Varenbergh-Verhelst.


The Constitution provides that “The Union shall recognise the

rights, freedoms and principles set out in the Charter of

Fundamental Rights which constitutes Part II of this

Constitution.” (art. 7). Part II incorporates into the

Constitution the “Charter of Fundamental Rights of the

European Union”, adopted by the meeting of the European

Council held in Nice on December 7, 2000. Those rights,

freedoms and principles as set forth in Part II range from

“Human dignity” (art. II-1) and “Right to life” (art. II-2)

over “Non-discrimination” (art. II-21) and “The rights of the

child” (art. II-24), to “Health care” (art. II-35) and

“Consumer Protection” (art. II-38). They include classical

“freedom rights” as well as “economic and social rights” or

“principles” - which can hardly be considered as rights in the

classical sense. Article II-51 limits their scope of

application by providing that “The provisions of this Charter

are addressed to the Institutions, bodies and agencies of the

Union with due regard for the principle of subsidiarity and to

the Member States only when they are implementing Union law.”

(art. II-51, 1.) and that “This Charter does not extend the

field of application of Union law beyond the powers of the

Union or establish any new power or task for the Union, or

modify powers and tasks defined in the other Parts of the

Constitution.” (art. II-51, 2.).

With respect to the relationship among Union law,

international law, and the laws of the Member States, the

Constitution confirms (as it had already evolved over time)

that “The Constitution, and law adopted by the Union’s

Institutions in exercising competences conferred on it, shall

have primacy over the law of the Member States.” (art. 10-1),

and declares that the Union “shall contribute to strict

observance and development of international law, including

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espect for the principles of the United Nations Charter.”

(art. 3, 4.).

Why the Constitution is bound to have consequences beyond the

intentions of most of those in favor

I submit that the adoption of this Constitution could have

far-reaching consequences, beyond the intentions of most of

those in favor, in that it may lead to (i) the

constitutionalization of private law, (ii) a new model of

regulation with a greatly increased role for the judiciary,

(iii) a European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) similar to the US

Supreme Court (USSC) model, and (iv) a creeping transfer of

powers to the European Union.

It is certainly correct to note that not all the “freedoms,

rights and principles” mentioned in the Charter (Part II) of

the Constitution are phrased in such a way that they would

directly give rise to individual rights which are precise

enough to be able to be claimed. Often, the Constitution

provides that a right shall be enjoyed “in accordance with

Union law and national laws and practices”, thereby arguably

reducing or even eliminating the direct effect of the

constitutional provision. Other provisions do not include

such a reference. For instance, the provision on nondiscrimination

reads as follows: “Any discrimination based on

any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin,

genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or

any other opinion, membership of a national minority,

property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall

be prohibited” (art. II-21).

The precise scope of application of the Charter provisions

remains unclear. As mentioned above, it is written into the

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Constitution that the Charter shall apply only in relation to

Union law. Notwithstanding this explicit limitation, it is

somehow hard to accept that the fundamental rights of the

citizens of the Union, as listed in the Constitution of the

Union, shall only apply to a segment of the law governing the

lives of those citizens. The mere fact that they are listed

in the Constitution awards them a central place in the legal

system. Any individual will be able to argue before a court

that some national law violates his rights as a citizen of the

Union. It will then be the court’s decision whether indeed

there is a binding norm of Union law which has been infringed

upon.

Such an infringement can occur in an area in which the Union

has powers, but has not acted (yet). The Union could then be

obliged to act in order to remedy the violation, and, pending

action undertaken by the Union, the problematic national law

would cease to have effect. If the infringement occurs in an

area in which the Union does not have powers, it may be argued

that the very violation of the rights as a citizen creates a

basis for the Union to intervene. The abovementioned

provision of art. II-51, 2. would seem to stand in the way

hereof, but the existing powers of the Union are large and

unspecific enough to neutralize the said limitation. For

instance, the Union shall share competence with the Member

States in numerous areas which are not defined in a very

precise way (internal market; economic, social and territorial

cohesion, consumer protection…)(art. 13) and may take

supporting, coordinating, or complementary action in areas

such as culture and education (art. 16). In the event of a

shared competence, the Member States exercise their competence

to the extent that the Union has not exercised, or has decided

to cease exercising, its competence.

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Also, it remains to be seen to what extent the rights of the

Charter will be enforceable vis-à-vis Union institutions and

national governments only, or also vis-à-vis individuals and

private entities. Clearly, the Charter goes far beyond the

relationship between the State (government) and the

individual: when it provides that in the fields of medicine

and biology, the free and informed consent of the person must

be respected, or that everyone has the right to the protection

of personal data concerning him or her, such a provision is

not meant to apply only between the government and the

individual. Other example: since the economy of the text is

clear in this respect, there are also no convincing arguments

to assume that the non-discrimination provision of art. II-21

(see above) would apply to government action only. While in

many cases the enjoyment of the basic rights and freedoms will

have to be guaranteed and materialized by law and require

legislation, it appears highly unlikely that the mere absence

of legislative action could lead to the suspension-in-fact of

a fundamental right.

If the ECJ is further elevated into a full fledged Constitutional

Court as is now proposed, then, necessarily and inherently,

in every single area where European law has priority

over national law, the ECJ will always determine the extent of

its own powers, and no political counterbalance will be

effective. Indeed, the ECJ may always find a basis in the

Constitution to overturn whatever legislative act. It seems

disingenuous, and contrary to institutional dynamics, to count

on appointment procedures, or legal theories, or self-restraint,

to prevent this from happening.

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A new model of regulation

I submit that even those in favor of a federal Europe are not

necessarily happy with the Charter, and with the status,

powers and role of the ECJ resulting from the incorporation of

the Charter in the Constitution. Not all European federalists

applaud a constitutional system in which courts rather than

elected bodies are the engine of law-making and have the final

say.

For example, this Constitution, if adopted, would have a

profound impact on the regulatory process in the Union: it

would evolve from regulation by the mechanism of politics,

through agencies setting general norms and standards, into

regulation by rights based litigation, through courts

rendering judgments in wide variety of individual cases.

Such a development would take shape along the following lines.

Creation of new rights and entitlements. The new model

functions by attributing the central role in the regulatory

system to the assertion of legal claims based upon the

violation of individual or group rights. In order to be able

to assert a claim, some - legal - right or entitlement has to

pre-exist which is then deemed violated. Traditionally, a

claimant could derive and assert a right vis-à-vis another

person from either a breach of contract by that person, from

the application of the principles of tort law to damages which

he incurred, or from some specific piece of legislation

granting specific rights or entitlements. Rights generally

followed from obligations; the obligation (performing a

contractual obligation, the obligation to compensate damages

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caused by one's fault or negligence) came first - a person's

right was the result of another person's legal obligation.

Increasingly however, contracts or tort law or specific

legislation are bound to become the less important basis for

asserting and litigating claims. More often, claims will tend

to be founded on entitlements grounded in fairly absolute,

general and open-ended rights of a new type, such as the right

to a clean and safe environment, the right to health, the

right not to be harassed or the right not to be discriminated

against - the latter on the basis of a manifold of criteria.

Here, obligations follow from rights: first come the rights -

a person's obligation is the result of another person's right.

It is the traditional system put on its head. Such new rights

can be individual or collective in nature. They may - and do

- affect a very broad range of human activity. Their

proliferation adds a legal dimension to virtually every type

of relationship in society, thereby multiplying potential

claims, and increasing the volume of litigation.

Enforcement. The new rights and entitlements can be enforced

through litigation - by individuals, but very often also by

groups. Those groups include groups to which an individual

actually belongs, but also advocacy groups including nongovernmental

organisations (NGO's). They may seek and obtain

jurisdiction in the most amenable and willing forum.

Removal of collective decision-making through politics.

Traditionally, regulation amounted to the setting of

collective standards. Those standards were the result of

deliberations through the political and/or administrative

process. Their aim was to achieve certain policy goals which,

collectively, were deemed worth pursuing, and simultaneously

to create certainty and predictability for those who had to

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comply. In the new system, government and politicians have

transferred the burden of the regulatory process to

individuals and groups in civil society, to whom they grant

general rights and entitlements, which then have to be further

defined and made concrete by using the court system. By

nature however, judges rule in individual cases, and trends in

case law only appear from a manifold of diverging judgments,

and are always open for challenge through new cases.

Moreover, case law does not create a binding general norm or a

sure standard upon which to rely. The outcome of one case can

always change in the next case, or not be generally applied.

Consequently, the actors in society, such as business, cannot

know with a sufficiently high degree of certainty what the law

is and, therefore, which their obligations under the law are.

In order to argue that a legal obligation is breached, it is

no longer required to show the violation of a specific norm or

standard. It is sufficient to assert the violation of an

abstract right and leave the "political decision" to the

court.

Accountability. Actors in society will no longer be

exclusively accountable to the State for compliance with

collective norms. They will, in addition, become accountable

to a multitude of groups.

The transformation of international law and the Constitution

Not only will the Constitution have a significant impact upon

European Union law and upon the law of the Member States of

the Union, but it will also be tied in with a global shift

towards new international law.

Classical international law (the Law of Nations) governed the

legal aspect of relations among entities legally recognized on

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the international level, i.e. primarily - if not exclusively -

States. Although international law is binding on its

subjects, it does not provide whether and if so to what extent

it should have a direct effect in the internal order. Those

subject to international law retain the liberty to decide how

its norms will be implemented. The international political or

legal system did not have any direct authority vis-à-vis the

individual, who was considered as a citizen of his State, and

who had to depend on his own State and its political and legal

system for the protection of his individual rights.

However, this picture is changing fast.

Increasingly, the individual has been made the

addressee/beneficiary of international law, mainly as a result

of action undertaken by the United Nations following the

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights". Since then,

international law has increasingly become a direct source of

individual rights and obligations. The role of the State in

the formation, reception and implementation of international

law, once considered essential, has become much less crucial.

The balance between international and national (domestic) law

is being profoundly modified; international law is now often

directly applicable, without transmission or intermediation by

national law.

A large number of States already accept the priority of

international law, meaning that in the event of a conflict

between a norm of national law and a norm of international

law, the latter will prevail. The "monistic" position,

similarly accepted by a large number of States, holds that the

superposition of international law does not even require any

prior intervention on the part of the "receiving" State. No

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legislative act or even constitutional provision can prevent

the application of whichever international legal norm.

The legalizing role of human rights. The principal sources of

classical international law are treaties and customs. Whereas

a treaty only binds the parties which entered into the treaty,

all subjects of international law must respect customary law.

To be recognized as custom, a norm or rule should be the

expression of a universal consensus 2 , and must be perceived as

a norm or rule of a legal rather than a political or moral

nature.

What does attribute to a consensus its legal, rather than a

moral or political nature ? Since it is now beyond doubt that

human rights have obtained the status of international legal

norms, a consensus will be deemed to be of a legal nature if

it exists with respect to some recognized human right. Hence,

by asserting a link between some international consensus and

human rights, the content of this consensus becomes more than

the mere expression of a political objective or a moral

statement. It acquires legal status, and is made part of

international customary law. Establishing and promoting a

link with human rights is therefore a convenient method to

transform a political program into a legal issue, and by doing

so to impose its universal acceptance and application, not

through political majorities but as a norm of international

2

"Consensus" must not be confounded with "unanimity". An

international consensus does not necessarily require a unanimous vote at

the conclusion of some organized legislative conference. No hard rules

exist to determine whether a consensus exists; it is often a matter of

impression and conviction. These days, resolutions of a wide variety of

formal and informal bodies, such as specialized UN-sponsored conferences,

are often presented as the expression of a new consensus in the

international community. Consequently, these conclusions are becoming (and

designed to become) norms, standards and reference points of international

law. In order to achieve this status, it is sufficient that they are

accepted as such by the competent courts. Hence, the paper-intensive

process of creating and expressing a "consensus" is not legally neutral,

but contributes to or results in the creation of new and enforceable

international law.

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law. There exists no mechanism that would prevent the

contents of such a human rights linked program to be further

interpreted, updated, or expanded, by courts or in various

bodies, agencies and conferences. This may accurately be

described as a system of auto-reference.

Two features make the use of this concept very powerful and

efficient in terms of its political and ideological

objectives:

(i)

(ii)

Human rights are addressed to individuals and

accelerate the process of making international law

directly applicable and enforceable. To the extent

it would be held by some that international law is

still addressed in the first place to States, it is

clear that their role is reduced to the

implementation and application of norms, rules and

prescriptions established under the new

international human rights law. A "negligent" State

could be exposed to legal action.

Human rights fall within the category of fundamental

rights. Human rights being considered as fundamental

rights, they occupy the highest place in the

hierarchy of legal norms and must be upheld by

everyone, including the "international community"

and "civil society", against each violation by a

State, any center of political power or any other

group or entity in society.

International law and the Constitution. As mentioned above,

the Constitution provides for the “strict observance” of

international law by the Union. I submit that the rightsbased

constitution of the European Union will reinforce the

transformation of international law into a rights-based global

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law, and function as a transmission channel by greatly

facilitating the import of the new international law into

national law.

European Union law is a body of law with supranational

characteristics and therefore with a higher degree of

penetration in national law than classical international law.

There can be no question that the national laws of each of the

Member States of the European Union will be profoundly

affected by the Constitution, which, when adopted, will be at

the top of their hierarchy of legal norms. Whereas the role

of constitutional rights-based litigation has so far remained

limited, it can be advanced with a high degree of certainty

that the Constitution, for the various reasons explained

above, will be an engine for expansion of this type of

litigation.

Such a “constitutional common law” approach will offer

extraordinary opportunities for the importation and

transmission of the new international law, which the Union

will “strictly observe”. In practice, it will become

sufficient for a court to refer to some human right (a

“fundamental international right") to render obsolete any

provision of national law, even a posterior legislative act.

The scope and the undefined and vague nature of many new human

rights lead to a loss of power and legal authority by the

political branches of government in favor of this

international legal order.

If courts and tribunals can be pulled into the dynamics

between the "international community" and "civil society", the

alliance between international bodies and NGO's, this new

legal, and eventually also political, order can be made

dominant. Such a development will inevitably extend into and

12


affect all areas of law, as each legal system develops its own

coherence.

The inevitable drive for a new coherence will be assured by

the role of the norms at the top of the new hierarchy (i.e.

the fundamental rights in international law), and by the

creation or reinforcement of international institutions or

authorities entrusted with defining their contents. One

notices already a re-interpretation of existing norms in the

light of new interpretations developed by UN-agencies.

Simultaneously, constitutional litigation in the EU will

provide a further impetus to the introduction of consensusbased

binding norms in international law and become a source

of international law. Also court decisions take part in the

creation of a legally relevant consensus. If and when the ECJ

takes on its role as chief-interpreter of a “21 st century

rights-based constitution”, it will be impossible not to

consider its judgments as important contributions in

discerning a consensus.

The political side of the equation: towards a global citizen

community

We have argued that since the concept “sovereign State”

occupies a much less central place in the international order,

and the place of the State in international law is fading

away, international law is developing into global law. Unlike

classical international law, a global system of law attempts

to structure and shape a unified “global citizen community” of

individuals, which does not fundamentally differ from a

“national community”.

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With networks increasingly assuming the tasks and roles of

States, some concern with respect to democratic accountability

of such mechanism seems to be in order.

Interestingly, a similar analysis can sometimes be found on

the (far) left. In “A Theory of Imperial Law: A Study on U.S.

Hegemony and the Latin Resistance” (Global Jurist Frontiers,

Volume 3, Issue 2, 2003), Ugo Mattei writes: “The rethorical

device used in the process of repressing deviance has been a

genuinely legal concept, that of “international human rights.”

Indeed, a doctrine of limited sovereignty in the interest of

international human rights has threatened the traditional

nature of international law as a decentralized system based on

territoriality, and has advocated the need for centralization

in order to make international law more similar to systems of

national law. The International Criminal Court is the most

advanced point of this shift. Ad hoc courts, such as the one

presently used against former Yugoslavian president Slobodan

Milosevic, are the product of an even more open use of

international law as en ex post facto legitimating factor of

war. Today we believe that international law is not natural

but positive law, whose fundamental sources are treaties and

customs. Tomorrow, we might believe that international law is

a worldwide legal system grounded in uniformity and in

commonly shared ideals of law and order. (…) Hence,

sovereignty can be routinely addressed as deviance from a

standard of legality grounded in U.S.-constructed

international human rights.” Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

point to the same in “Empire” (Cambridge, 2003): “The

transition we are witnessing today from traditional

international law, which was defined by contracts and

treaties, to the definition and constitution of a new

sovereign, supranational world order (and thus to the imperial

14


notion of right), however incomplete, gives us a framework in

which to read the totalizing social process of Empire.”

We have brought to the attention how the European Union and

the United Nations system are increasing the role of human

rights and NGO’s in the formation of law, and thereby

contribute to the merger of national, European (supranational)

and international law.

Authors on the left tend to emphasize the role of the United

States. At first glance, this looks awkward since the United

States, and in particular the present administration, have

opposed a number of United Nations initiatives and decisions

which would have further encouraged such tendencies. However,

this first impression may not be entirely accurate.

Liberal internationalism is often the current which is most

closely associated with the rise of new international law. It

is described by Charles Krauthammer in the following terms:

“Liberal internationalism seeks through multilateralism to

transcend power politics, narrow national interest and,

ultimately, the nation-state itself. The nation-state is seen

as some kind of archaic residue of an anarchic past, an

affront to the vision of a domesticated international arena.

This is why liberal thinkers embrace the erosion of

sovereignty promised by the new information technologies and

the easy movement of capital across borders. They welcome the

decline of sovereignty as the road to the new globalism of a

norm-driven, legally-bound international system broken to the

mold of domestic society.” (The Unipolar Moment Revisited, The

National Interest, Winter 2002/2003).

But an analysis of the September 2002 document “The National

Security Strategy of the United States” shows that also the

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present US administration appears to blur the distinction

between an international and a global order.

The document begins with the statement: “The great struggles

of the twentieth century between liberty and totalitarianism

ended with a decisive victory for the forces of freedom – and

a single sustainable model for national success: freedom,

democracy and free enterprise”.

This strikes as a somewhat strange opening statement of a

document on national security strategy. In such a document,

one would indeed expect to find a clarification of which are

considered to be fundamental national interests, and what type

of international order is compatible with those interests.

The message from this particular document appears to be: only

a global order, not merely an international order, is in the

U.S. interest. “Freedom is the non-negotiable demand of human

dignity; the birthright of every person – in every

civilization. (…) Today, humanity holds in its hands the

opportunity to further freedom’s triumph over all these foes.

The United States welcomes our responsibility to lead in this

great mission.”

With all the emphasis on the “values of freedom” as “nonnegotiable

demands of human dignity”, which “will guide our

actions and our words in international bodies”, it is hard not

to have the impression that the traditional concept of a

community of states, abiding by the classical rules of

international law, is being replaced by something different.

Indeed, there does not seem to be any longer a qualitative

difference between enhancing and protecting a global order of

freedom, and structuring relations among states. One may be

forgiven to conclude that in order to preserve such a “global

order of freedom”, a further osmosis between international and

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global order will be encouraged. Such would require and imply

increased possibilities for local actors to invoke norms of

global law (“natural rights” ?) in opposition to national law.

Therefore, it seems inevitable that a limitation of the role

of states and the gradual, piecemeal transformation of

international into global law will inevitably result from this

particular approach of “national security”.

As a result of this development, truly “foreign” affairs will

cease to exist. As the 2002 document puts it: “Today, the

distinction between domestic and foreign affairs is

diminishing”. Not only will this affect the thinking

regarding the role of law, but also the thinking on the

legitimacy of the use of force. In an order where “foreign

affairs” have virtually disappeared, “war” has lost its

original meaning. The use of force is increasingly equated

with police action, becoming just one policy tool in addition

to other available tools.

Philip Bobbitt sees a society of market-states emerge,

embedded in a new global order which is based on free

circulation and openness: free circulation of capital,

investment, goods, services, ideas, and for some also labour

(Philip Bobbitt, The Shield of Achilles, 2002; see also Andrew

Bacevich, American Empire, 2002). In such a global order,

according to Bobbitt, “Two tasks lie before us: to decide, as

states, when it is appropriate to use force in this new world;

and to determine, as a society of states, when to collectively

sanction the use of that force in the world. This is a matter

of creating precedents and case law. (…) These precedents and

case law, however, are not those generated by courts.”

(ibidem). An argument can indeed be made that international

law has perhaps gone too far in restricting the legality of

war to the case of self-defense. The question is, however,

17


which paradigm and which legal principles will guide those

decisions. What Bobbitt seems to propose is to replace

classical international law on the legality of the use of

force with case law on the subject. Once the existing legal

principles abandoned however, everything is possible. It is

very likely that, in the absence of a qualitative distinction

between an international and a global (market) order, the new

legal principles transpiring in such case law will be those

that assimilate the use of force with policing the global

order, no longer based on the distinction of spheres. Case

law is not a substitute for ordering principles, and such

principles are notably absent in such an approach.

“But with the Long War won, why do we need a structuring

paradigm at all ?” asks Bobbitt. “Why not simply make

decisions on an ad hoc basis, recognizing that, in any case,

these decisions will not be randomly made or irrational, but

will guided by our best judgments as to what appears to

increase American power and freedom of action ? The answer

lies in the relationship of strategy to law. Legitimacy, not

merely power, was what the Long War was fought over. Until

that fundamental question could be settled, conquest and

defeat alone could not end the war. Legitimacy is the ground

of law; it arises from consistent practices and tacit

acceptance and gives law its authority” (ibidem).

It is indeed impossible to shape a political order which is

disconnected from a legal order, and vice versa, a legal order

will very much influence the shaping of a political order

By way of conclusion

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The amalgamation of the national and international spheres

into a global sphere is favored from different philosophical

and political angles.

First of all, there are those motivated by an anti-statist

philosophy who believe that the individual ought to be the

only subjects of a world community and its legal order, and

the free associations of civil society their principal actors.

State and government are considered as oppressive and

encroaching on the domain of freedom. The global order should

be a market order. Natural rights should be non-negotiable

and enforceable everywhere, and the legal order of the world

community should provide the instruments to do so. This group

is traditionally situated on the libertarian right, has

limited affinity as such with international bodies and

agencies, but seems to be very much in favor of

“constitutional litigation” in a common law manner. Its

operating basis is mostly the United States, but its influence

in Europe is marginally increasing through a network of think

tanks. Some European liberals, such as Alain Madelin, would

fit in this category.

A second category is constituted by those counting on networks

to promote a new social and political agenda, one of personal

autonomy and multiculturalism, which is apparently less easy

to pursue through majoritarian decision-making. Here one

finds organized attempts to form, through an interplay with

international bodies and NGO’s, a new international consensus

on the basis of human rights. This consensus should serve as

the basis for new norms and principles of international law,

to be imported into national legal systems. The adherents of

this approach use courts as their favored transmission

channels. Traditionally strong among the American liberal

left, they have gained influence in Europe. The EU Charter of

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Fundamental Rights, and its incorporation in the Constitution,

came into being under the influence of this group.

A third current endeavors to create a new world order based on

the principles of democratic capitalism. Some in this group

find their inspiration in natural law and moral theology.

They are opposed to the “new human rights” agenda and to

judicial activism, but still want the legal system to enhance

the agenda of spreading democratic capitalism.

Different as the three currents may be on substance, they do

not seem to be so far apart in their concept of the proper

relationship of national to international law. All three see

international law as an instrument which should serve to usher

nations into a global order, under the supervision of either

the United Nations or the United States.

There is nothing wrong, of course, with a worldwide respect

for the dignity of the human person, quite the contrary

indeed. But not all rights said to be fundamental or human

rights are perceived as such in all cultures. And seeking to

enhance human dignity does not translate automatically in the

need to create a global legal system. Such a system does

generally not serve to achieve the goals which its promoters,

of different political coloration, pretend they seek to

achieve, but serve to redistribute power, to the detriment of

autonomous and sovereign states and for the benefit of global

players, sometimes of doubtful legitimacy.

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