Judicial Independence and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Independence of Judges. N. A. Engstad, A. L. Frøseth and B. Tønder, (eds.), Eleven International Publishing, 2014

Posted: 5 Feb 2014 Last revised: 13 May 2014

See all articles by Susann Skogvang

Susann Skogvang

University of Tromsø -The Arctic University of Norway

Date Written: January 29, 2014

Abstract

This article raises questions related to judicial independence and the rights of indigenous peoples. I will discuss whether competence in and knowledge of indigenous cultures is a prerequisite for the independence of judges dealing with indigenous peoples’ legal rights. Lady Justice is blindfolded, so she does not see the people in front of her and is thus able to treat everyone equally, it is commonly said. She only considers facts and law. But what if true justice requires that Lady Justice lifts the veil of ignorance and considers the cultural background of the people before her? What if the law requires cultural competence among judges? Do judges have a legal obligation to take cultural considerations into account in their judging? Does international law establish a legal basis for requiring judges to have indigenous cultural competence? Is, in fact, cultural competence an element in the principle of judicial independence or the rule of law?

Keywords: Judicial independence, rule of law, indigenous peoples rights

Suggested Citation

Skogvang, Susann, Judicial Independence and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (January 29, 2014). The Independence of Judges. N. A. Engstad, A. L. Frøseth and B. Tønder, (eds.), Eleven International Publishing, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2387472

Susann Skogvang (Contact Author)

University of Tromsø -The Arctic University of Norway ( email )

UiT Norges arktiske universitet
Postboks 6050 Langnes
Tromsø, 9037
Norway

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