Corruption, Democracy and Human Rights: The Venezuelan Case

Venezuela is one of the richest countries in natural resources in the world, one of the biggest in mines and the largest in proven reserves of hydrocarbons. Notwithstanding, it is paradoxically immersed in a terrible and complex humanitarian, political, economic and social crisis; maybe one of the worst worldwide.
This dramatic situation is the product of several factors, being one of the principal of them a massive, systematic and widespread corruption, which became a sort of “public policy”, with an almost total impunity, except for taking advantage of corruption prosecution (which in many cases just only reaches the imputation phase). This proposal, intends to analyze this unfortunate paradigmatic case, having in consideration not only the interaction and linkages between democracy and rule of law with corruption, but also the effects of this scourge against human rights, as well as its possible legal and judicial implications from this perspective.

To be confirmed

To be confirmed.
Please note: Prof Mollers has confirmed his interest in presenting a paper on this panel. The panel was put together quite quickly, and he has not managed to submit his paper title or abstract in time for deadline. He has asked that this panel be scheduled either on the Wednesday or the Thursday as he has to leave on the Thursday evening. He also points out that he is already on a panel.

How can be build a global constitutionalism without state, in the context of contemporary globalization? An inquiry

Globalization is considered to have made nation-states lose, or are losing their “sovereign” character in national and international politics, due to the emergence of administrative political entities that are disputing this political power such as large companies (multinationals) or private corporations. In this sense, ¿How can be building a theoretical possibility of a global constitutionalism in non-state legal scenarios, based on the construction of a proposal for a mandatory protection, within the framework of Globalization? This paper aims to reflect on the possibilities of building this theory, having in account the relationship between democracy and constitutionalism, in the context of no state legal scenarios, global chains of supply or production, and big private corporations.

‘Political’ political constitutionalism and the populist challenge

Against the charge that majoritarian decisionmaking processes might feed populism, in this paper I claim that political constitutionalism stands as a superior kind of constitutionalism for democratic societies than its liberal or legal alternative. In doing so I will argue that political constitutionalism is at odds with, and better than, the wide range of experiences labelled under the term ‘populism’. In the first part of the paper, I examine different approaches to the phenomenon of ‘populism’ and I critically analyse how constitutional theory approaches the relation between populism and constitutionalism. In this, my critique to the most common reaction from constitutional law to populism is twofold. On the one hand, I criticise the persistent faith in courts as safeguards of democracy endorsed by legal constitutionalism. On the other hand, I criticize the lack of analytical value of the term ‘populism’ for the goals of constitutional theory.

Does liberal constitutionalism need an alternative?

The aim of this paper is to soften the contrast between the moral theory of liberal constitutionalism and the various competing normative accounts of constitutionalism that, for ease of reference, I shall call collectively political. It will be argued that this contrast is to a great extent the result of both sides unnecessarily taking extreme positions and misunderstanding (some of) their own theoretical commitments. Once some of those commitments are relaxed and others jettisoned, we will see that the choice between the two views is not either-or.

More specifically, against standard liberal constitutionalist accounts it will be claimed that there is no mysterious constitutional logic that necessitates the existence of constitutional review of primary legislation. And against standard political constitutionalist accounts it will be claimed that it is not necessarily an affront to political equality to give this kind of power to unelected judges.

A 'political constitutionalist' case for judicial review

This paper argues for judicial review – or against the rigidity of political constitutionalists’ objections to judicial review – on the basis of what is argued to be its ‘legitimating rather than its epistemic properties’. That is, this case focuses on certain features of the practice of adjudication rather than on supposed ‘epistemic virtues’ of judges of the kind used in standard legal constitutionalist defences of judicial review. These features – its attentiveness to individual grievances etc. – suggest that judicial review is likely to or may contribute, in certain modest ways, to the promotion of norms that are ‘commonly avowable’ in democratic societies. This in turn means that it is likely to or may enhance the legitimacy of political outcomes over time.

Drawing on Jeff King’s work, the paper goes on to argue that this republican and political constitutionalist case tends to support ‘institutional approaches to judicial restraint’ over formalist or non-doctrinal approaches.

Constitutionalism and protest. The case of protests of November 21 in Colombia

On November 21, 2019 (21N), a large national strike was called in Colombia for the measures that the government was going to take in terms of pensions, taxes and health in what was informally known as the “Duque package”. The government decided to issue a series of executive decrees that gave mayors the possibility of decreeing the curfew and using the ESMAD, which is the police responsible for dissolving the protests. During the protests, which lasted almost a month, there was the death of student Dylan Cruz with an unconventional police weapon, as well as arbitrary detentions, and mistreatment of protesters, especially students, who was denounced by the United Nations High Commissioner for Humans Rights in their Report for the Situation of human rights in Colombia in 2019. The paper will analyze the case of these protests within the framework of constitutional law and the right to protest.

Trust, Distrust and the Foreign Relations Law of the Weimar Republic

My contribution will start with shortly analysing continuity and change in the status of international law under the Weimar Constitution as compared to its forerunner, the ‘Bismarck Constitution’. In the main part of the paper, I will explore the tension between international law and mass democracy. Here, I will keep a focus on the special situation of a newly established order which seeks international trust and a widespread public distrust towards Versailles and international and foreign influences. International treaties of those days, in particular the Treaty of Versailles, and membership in international organisations such as the League of Nations and, in particular, the International Labor Organisation had significant implications for domestic economic and social orders. In that sense, international law, to an unknown extent, reigned into the domestic law of (democratic) states, creating unprecedented tensions between international negotiation processes and domestic audiences.

The role of the Office of the Attorney General in the protests of 21N in Colombia in order to protect Human Rights.

The Office of the Attorney General also fulfills the role of reporting cases of human rights violations in Colombia. With the emergence of the protests of November 21 in Colombia, the Attorney General's Office took an active role in defending and reporting cases of human rights violations by the police and other State agencies. In the paper I will make an analysis of the measures taken by this agency in order to guarantee the rights of assembly, protest and demonstration.

Constitutional Prospects, Constitutional Pathologies: Otto Kirchheimer’s Weimar Moments

For Otto Kirchheimer (1905-1965), Carl Schmitt’s favorite socialist doctoral student, the catastrophic failure of Weimar parliamentarianism was not only a moment of profound disillusionment, but also a moment of democratic realignment and recalibration. His early writings provide an astute observation and analysis of the Weimar Constitution’s rise and decline. In my paper, I shall revisit Kirchheimer’s long neglected Weimar writings and discuss the relevance of his work for present and future “Weimar moments“. I shall also take a closer look on 1968’s Kirchheimer-Renaissance in Germany, prompted by the 1965 German edition of his “Political Justice: The Use of Legal Procedures for Political Ends” (Princeton 1961), a book which inspired intense interest in Kirchheimer’s Weimar years in the ranks of the critical left, but also among more mainstream protagonists of legal academia and within political science.