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
Date Written: August 25, 2020
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
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