It is widely acknowledged that the regulatory power that globalization has transferred to international organizations has largely been vested in the executive branches of a few powerful states that were the system’s principal architects. The combination of such overly concentrated executive power and the international system’s relative lack of structural checks and balances that safeguard democratic deliberation and human rights in domestic settings should be an important source of concern for those worried about democratic deficit at the global level.
Of particular concern is the fact that judicial oversight, the principal structural check on executive power at the international level, remains very limited. Even those international tribunals with relatively broad mandates, like the International Court of Justice, possess far less independence than their domestic counterparts and the international judicial system is more fragmented and less hierarchical than that in most democracies. In this essay we argue that progress in containing executive power via judicial review is still possible, but that it is likely to be driven primarily from below by national court-led process of inter-judicial coordination that could eventually involve both national courts and international tribunals.
International Law | Judges | Public Law and Legal Theory
Date of this Version
Eyal Benvenisti and George W. Downs, "Court Cooperation, Executive Accountability and Global Governance" (May 2009). Tel Aviv University Law Faculty Papers. Working Paper 108.