The principles also prohibit arbitrary treatment and torture, assume that people are innocent until proven guilty, may remain silent and are not required to incriminate themselves. In addition, they prevent civil or criminal prosecution for an offence unknown to the law when committed, and prohibit people to be adversely subjected to a retrospective change of the law.
According to the United Nations, the rule of law is fundamental to international peace and security and political stability, to achieve economic and social progress and development, and to protect people’s rights and fundamental freedoms. Rule of law and development are strongly interlinked, and strong rule of law-based societies should be aimed at as an outcome of the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
While the rule of law may be more or less well established in some countries, the principles are non-existent or fall short of the required standard in others. And, even if they are well established in a country, they are nothing that may be taken for granted. Rather, their implementation must be actively monitored, be discussed and be recalibrated, if and when necessary. The importance of the rule of law has become particularly obvious during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Governments do not always “get it right”. Their actions may, for example, be disproportionate and, if so, there must be remedies available.
KAS Australia through the Periscope series seeks to contribute to the ongoing rule of law debate, including current issues such as the proportionality of coronavirus measures, the interaction of law and politics, and opportunities and limits of rule of law states. More precisely, we aim to connect Germany and the European Union with Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific so as to increase mutual understanding, and to foster idea and knowledge sharing between policy makers, legal experts, and other stakeholders.