Monday, February 8, 2010

U.S. Lags Behind Peer Countries in Respect for International Law

According to the Rule of Law Index created by the World Justice Project, the United States scored a 0.39 on a 1.0 scale in its respect for the rule of law in 2009.  By comparison, its 10 closest peer countries averaged 0.66.  The Index takes into account 16 factors and 68 sub-factors in evaluating a country's respect for the rule of law, including accountability of government officials, transparency of laws, procedural fairness for the enactment of laws, and access to independent attorneys and other representatives in the judicial system.  Of most relevance to this blog, Factor 5 describes the role of international law in holding governments to their commitments, including treaties and customary international law. Sadly, the United States' score on compliance with international law was by far its lowest score on the Index.  The United States' next lowest score was a 0.60.  On most other factors, the United States scored fairly similar to its peer countries, outscoring them only on access to the legal system and protection of property rights.  The Index tends to demonstrate that while the United States observes the rule of law in general, there is much work to be done in increasing respect for and observance of international law in particular.  More information can be found at the World Justice Project website.


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