The requirement democratic elections in international law

University dissertation from Uppsala : Juridiska institutionen

Abstract: The main purpose of this study is to examine the legal status of the requirement of democratic elections in international law. The starting point of this legal analysis is article 38 (1) of the International Court of Justice, which provides the list of classical sources for the process of law making within the international legal system. In this article, international conventions, international custom and general principles of law are listed as the primary sources of making rules of international law, while writings of learned publicists are listed as the subsidiary sources. My thesis is that if the analysis undertaken in this study reveals that the requirement of democratic elections is recognised by any of the primary sources, then it is part of the binding body of international law. However, from methodological point of view other sources beyond those listed in Article 38(1) e.g. resolutions of international organisations have been included in the analysis of international law making in this study.In order to determine the legal status of the requirement of democratic elections, an analysis is undertaken on global as well as regional human rights treaties within the international human rights system, if any, which recognise the requirement of democratic elections. Other sources e.g. the writings of learned publicists, judicial decisions, declaratory pronouncements at both the universal and regional levels as well as State constitutions are also analysed with a view to expose whether they embody the requirements of democratic elections. Finally, an extensive study of contemporary state practices, which might confirm if there is a trend of international law developing in pro-democratic directions, is also undertaken. Such a trend lends support to the requirement of democratic elections being part of customary international law. The examples of such practices analysed include the international community efforts in the monitoring and supervision of elections and recognition of states and governments.The author reaches a legally appropriate conclusion concerning the legal status of the requirement of democratic elections in international law based upon the results of the above analysis.

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