*Originally published on 10 February 2017, re-published due to technical issues
The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America was a shock to many. After all, it is difficult to imagine someone less qualified for the job who would also be able to achieve the feat of winning a presidential election (thanks in part to the archaic presidential election system, i.e. the electoral college). He has no experience in politics and the actions of his team over the past two weeks suggest that he also has very little clue on how the administration he is leading actually works. This could be characterised as incompetence, and in part it is, at least in terms of how to effectively implement his policies. Nevertheless, one should be careful to claim that all of the chaos and failure coming out of the White House is due to incompetence. I say this because in so doing I fear one would continue perpetuating the same mistake a considerable amount of people did over the last year, that is to not take Mr. Trump seriously, both as a candidate/President, and as a threat. And a threat he is. The chaos he creates is probably more representative of his personality, megalomaniac/narcissist, and ideology, a form of nouveau fascism, than solely of his incompetence. The recent Muslim ban is a great example. I think it is important to take Trump seriously, especially if we wish to craft effective paths of resistance.
On the 15th of November, I had the chance of assisting to a viewing of the Canadian documentary “Prosecutor” with the said Prosecutor (Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (the ICC)) at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. The documentary was interesting to watch; it outlined the determination and perseverance of Mr. Moreno-Ocampo and the inherent difficulties of being the chief prosecutor of an international court. I recommend it if you are interested in the ICC and international criminal justice.
What was even more interesting was the discussion that followed. One of the students in the audience asked what would be the Prosecutor’s next career move (Mr. Moreno-Ocampo’s mandate is ending soon). He mentioned that he was very interested in educating the international relations crowd about the rule of law and international ethic. I found his answer particularly interesting because the notion of international ethic is something that has wondered inside my central nervous system for a while.
I would encourage people to read the About page before diving into this first blog post, especially the Disclaimer section… Now that that is done, enjoy!
Many commentators (often conservatives – and I use that term in its wide sense not solely its political or partisan sense – but also people who [over]value the sovereignty of Parliament) have critiqued our courts, especially the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), of indulging in judicial activism. This was particularly true after the advent of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom in 1982. These criticisms have resulted in an increased deference to the two other branches of government (legislative and executive) in public law. The Khadr 2010 decision is a perfect example. This trend is not healthy for our judicial system and I intend to show why in this post.