Conceptualising Accountability in the Legal and Institutional Framework of the OSCE
22 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2018 Last revised: 15 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 8, 2018
This paper (forthcoming in Steinbrück Platise/Moser/Peters (eds), The Legal Framework of the OSCE, Cambridge University Press) investigates accountability in the context of the OSCE, considering the Organisation’s unsettled legal framework. The analysis unfolds in three parts. The focus of the first part is on outlining the conceptual framework. Approached from a constitutional – that is power-centred – perspective, accountability is defined as a mechanism in which the power-wielder (actor) is held to account by a meaningful other (forum) in a three-step process as conceptualised by Bovens. Accountability mechanisms can thus cover a wide range of issues (legal, political and administrative matters) and activities (decision-making, steering and implementation). The second part then goes on to contextualise accountability in a broader governance scheme. Here, the paper inter alia inquires what the decisive criterion for accountability in the international arena would be, given that much public power is channelled through formal as well as informal international institutions. In the third and last part, existing accountability arrangements in the current OSCE framework are mapped and the relevance of accountability for the OSCE is discussed, also with reference to other international institutions entrusted with similar functions and tasks.
Keywords: OSCE, accountability, governance, public power, legitimacy, impact
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