Examines whether or not judiciaries protect individuals from human rights abuses.
The central question taken up by this essay collection is the degree to which judges have—or have not—served as protectors of human rights. Although the judiciary is nominally a part of the governing structure, it is also nearly always the case that it stands apart from the political actors who make and carry out policy. Thus, Gibney and Frankowski contend, judges have not designed or carried out the myriad human rights violations that are so common in the world today.
The key question asked in this volume is to what extent have courts merely abided by egregious practices, or perhaps have even lent a cover of legitimation—or conversely, the degree to which courts have purposely attempted to bring about some change in stemming governmental abuses. No single volume could cover every country experiencing gross levels of human rights abuses. The effort here has been to provide a cross section of judicial systems throughout the world, and to focus on judicial systems that have become involved in addressing human rights issues.