Judges as Guardians of Constitutionalism and Human Rights
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Judges as Guardians of Constitutionalism and Human Rights

Edited by Martin Scheinin, Helle Krunke and Marina Aksenova

This book considers the many challenges that national and supranational judges have to face when fulfilling their roles as guardians of constitutionalism and human rights. The contributors, both academics and judges, discuss key examples of contemporary challenges to judging – including the nature of courts’ legitimacy and its alleged dependence on public support; the role of judges in upholding constitutional values in the times of transition to democracy, surveillance and the fight against terrorism; and the role of international judges in guaranteeing globally recognized fundamental rights and freedoms.
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Chapter 16: The task of regional and international courts in guarding constitutionalism and human rights

Marina Aksenova and Geir Ulfstein


Marina Aksenova, Postdoc, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen and Geir Ulfstein, Professor, Department of Public and International Law, University of Oslo. This concluding chapter sums up the section on international and regional courts and simultaneously draws a line underneath the whole volume. This chapter entertains two interrelated themes – judicial dialogue and legitimacy. The judges engage in domestic, regional and international decision-making by virtue of dialogue, which takes different shapes and forms. The conversations between judges at various levels reflect omnipresent concern for legitimacy, which becomes particularly acute when it comes to international courts relying on the state parties for support and enforcement. What is the role of individual judges in the process of building court’s legitimacy and how do they discharge their functions as protectors of human rights and constitutionalism? Which dilemmas do they face in fulfilling their mandate?

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