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Authors: Kolloch, Annalena
Title: Magistrates marching in the streets : making and debating judicial independence and the rule of law in Benin
Online publication date: 4-May-2023
Year of first publication: 2022
Language: english
Abstract: Since 2012, judges and prosecutors in Benin have repeatedly protested against political interference and demanded compliance with their statutorily guaranteed independence. In 2014 and 2017, magistrates demonstrated in their judicial robes in the streets, protesting against the government's bill to deprive them of their right to strike and other freedoms. Benin has been described as a ‘success story of democracy’ (Stroh and Never, 2006, p. 1) and even as a ‘model democracy’ (cf. Kohnert, 1996, p. 78; Magnusson, 2001, p. 211; Bierschenk, 2009) since its peaceful transition to democratic conditions and its participation in a national conference in 1990/91. So why were magistrates in Benin demonstrating in the streets for the first time in the history of their profession? Based on fieldwork in Benin in 2009 and 2015 and archival research in 2017 in France, my paper analyses the change in the style of interactions between parts of the executive and parts of the judiciary in the history of the profession – a change from political negotiation to confrontation. Through their strikes and industrial action, magistrates fought for judicial independence; yet, at the same time they constructed legality and strengthened democracy because their actions emphasised the rule of law. My paper also considers the specifics of their strikes in the context of other striking civil servants. When magistrates, as bureaucrats, become politically active, it marks a transformation in their self-conception, as they are usually reserved and withdraw themselves from political and public spheres.
DDC: 300 Sozialwissenschaften
300 Social sciences
320 Politik
320 Political science
340 Recht
340 Law
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 07 Geschichts- u. Kulturwissensch.
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Document type specification: Scientific article
License: CC BY-NC-SA
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Journal: International Journal of Law in Context
Special issue 3
Pages or article number: 347
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publisher place: Cambridge
Issue date: 2022
ISSN: 1744-5531
Publisher DOI: 10.1017/S1744552322000283
Appears in collections:DFG-491381577-H

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