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Toward a Universal Declaration of the Rule of Law: Implications for Criminal Justice and Sustainable Development

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Since its inception, the U.N. has provided a forum for the elaboration and promotion of general principles of social, economic, and political life. In the context of crime prevention and criminal justice, several standards, norms, and guidelines have been created. Perhaps the most widely stated yet least understood general principle at the core of criminal justice has been the notion of the "rule of law." Persons, agencies, and governments from disparate regional, cultural, and legal backgrounds seem to acknowledge the concept positively. Indeed, it is often referred to as an essential foundational element of a just society and as a prerequisite for sustainable development. This paper first attempts to chart the history of the "rule of law" in terms of its definition and international promotion. Second, it outlines the development in the U.N. of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The link between the rule of law and human rights is then discussed with a view to determining the strengths and weaknesses of each as tools in assisting governments with sustainable development. The paper concludes by suggesting that the U.N. develop a Universal Declaration of the Rule of Law, potentially a more effective mechanism for development.

Affiliations: 1: Vienna International Centre, P.O. Box 500, A1400, Vienna, Austria

10.1163/156851801300171742
/content/journals/10.1163/156851801300171742
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/content/journals/10.1163/156851801300171742
2001-05-01
2016-12-04

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