Date Published: 12:09:20 PM Friday, 24-January-2020
Strengthening the rule of law is widely regarded – among traditional donors, multilateral institutions, and a growing number of middle income and fragile states – as a necessary precondition for sustainable peace, poverty alleviation, and development. Crime and violence deter investment and lower employment, undermine social institutions, and divert resources through direct and indirect costs, all of which hinder development. It is likely to disproportionately affect poor and marginalized populations by limiting access to basic services. According to the United Nations, the rule of law is “a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards.” i This definition is not universally accepted, however; several middle income countries and emerging economies have enjoyed peace and prosperity without the political liberalism inherent in the aforementioned definition. In the latter model, “the law exists not to limit the state but to serve its power.” ii Common to both models is an emphasis on the role of formal state institutions in upholding the law.