On 2 May 2013, Constitutional Transitions’ Faculty Director Sujit Choudhry participated as an international expert in a one-day workshop, “Democracy Assessment of Constitutions,” organized by Democracy Reporting International (DRI). The workshop took place in Tunis, Tunisia. The purpose of the workshop was to determine whether there are international law standards ‑ either in hard or soft law ‑ that constitutions must comply with in order to be considered democratic.
These standards would serve multiple roles: a) to serve as authoritative benchmarks against which to assess newly adopted constitutions; b) to guide international support on constitution building; c) to support advocacy efforts by iNGOs and NGOs; d) to be used as conditions by international institutions for assistance and aid and to serve as the basis for enforcement mechanisms (e.g. those used by international financial institutions); and e) to improve monitoring of new democracies to evaluate whether they are backsliding toward authoritarianism (currently an issue in the EU).
Choudhry’s presentation focused on hard and soft law standards concerning judicial independence, focusing specifically on appointment mechanisms, security of tenure, transfer, discipline and dismissal procedures, administrative independence, and special military courts.