Harder, better, faster, stronger: Conceptualizing the institutional resilience of international courts

In times of an alleged backlash against international courts, understanding how courts might overcome and manage such challenges becomes crucial. Human rights courts, in particular, operate in a climate of heavy criticism, precarious funding, and state withdrawal. Yet, they remain surprisingly resilient in the face of those attacks. Embedded in their institutional environment, one can observe various attempted coping mechanisms such as strategic deference, judicial dialogue, and major structural reform processes, but also the implementation of sanctions, and the need to draw red lines in situations of democratic backsliding. In this presentation, I propose a conceptualization of resilience by combining institutionalist theories, regime theory, and socio-ecological studies, carving out the factors, mechanisms, and instruments, which might make human rights more resilient to extraordinary critique.