Who is watching the watchmen?

The Institute participated in the ACUNS annual meeting held in Lund in June. ACUNS is short for Academic Council on the United Nations Systems and is set up to stimulate and disseminate research on the United Nations, multilateralism and international organizations.

Participants from all over the world gathered in Lund discussing topics such as “Women in Transition from War to Peace”, and “International Interventions – Context, Purposes, Challenges”.

One of the most visited plenary discussions was about “Democratic Governance, Human Rights and Accountability” and gathered two profiles from the Institute´s sphere – former chairman of the Institute Hans Corell and visiting professor Miriam Estrada-Castillo.

Hans Corell started out by talking about the difference between Rule of Law and Rule by Law. The former undersecretary general for Legal Affairs in the UN, elaborated on how important it is that western democracies set standard for rule of law.

-Otherwise we have situations where the law rules, but where it is unclear who´s law it is, he warned.

Hans Corell also took the chance to criticize how countries like USA has set aside human rights standards in the name of the war on terror.

-At 9/11 the legal compass was lost which is a disgrace, he concluded.

Miriam Estrada-Castillo also brought up post 9/11 and questioned how concepts like “enhanced interrogation methods” have been allowed to creep into the international discourse.

-The gains we have made in human rights have been lost in this circle of uncertainty created after 9/11, she said and demanded that the tools of diplomacy and global interconnectedness should be better used.

-A reform of the security council has to happen to start with, she said. The council is set up for another era, and is a construction that is completely unacceptable with today´s challenges, she said. The reform is long overdue and is a necessary step to modernize global leadership and enhance accountability from top down.

The last panelist, Sukehiro Hasegawa, former special representative of the Secretary General for East Timor, talked at length about what he called “Primordial leadership”. To be a primordial global leader is to be deeply rooted in local circumstances, but ready to apply universal values and with an understanding of global rules and regulations.

-This is the kind of leadership that I have found most successful, he said and linked back to the conference´s overarching theme “Leadership in Global Governance”.

Sakheiro Hasegawa also pointed out that to be tolerant and forgiving as a person, and have the courage to look into the future instead of the past, gave good results.

-I saw leaders like that in East Timor, he shared with the audience. They carry with them a culture of lawfulness, which is something more difficult to define than rule of law. But it makes a big difference.

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