Two Level Politics and the Backlash against International Courts: Evidence from the Politicisation of the European Court of Human Rights

iCourts Working Paper Series, No. 209, 2020

19 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2020

See all articles by Mikael Madsen

Mikael Madsen

University of Copenhagen - iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts; University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 25, 2020

Abstract

Are international institutions more prone to face backlash politics than domestic ones? Are international institutions easy targets for satisfying domestic political interests? Using the case of the recent criticism of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the article explores whether international institutions are more susceptible to face backlash politics than domestic ones due to the dual nature of international politics. The empirical study, focusing on the reform of the ECtHR through the 2018 Copenhagen Declaration, suggests that pre-existing commitments to international institutions might be given up rapidly when significant domestic interests collide with international institutions and their practices. The analysis, however, also shows that backlash politics against international institutions is transformed when seeking institutional reform. Entering a collective bargaining process, backlash objectives are changed by the logic of diplomatic negotiation, academic scrutiny and the interests of the other member states and civil society. This suggests that the two-level logic of ordinary international politics has a mediating effect on domestically fuelled backlash campaigns.

Keywords: Two-level politics, backlash politics, European Court of Human Rights, Copenhagen Declaration, International Diplomacy

Suggested Citation

Madsen, Mikael, Two Level Politics and the Backlash against International Courts: Evidence from the Politicisation of the European Court of Human Rights (August 25, 2020). iCourts Working Paper Series, No. 209, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3680451 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3680451

Mikael Madsen (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts ( email )

University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Law ( email )

Studiestraede 6
Studiestrade 6
Copenhagen, DK-1455
Denmark

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