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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Rule of Law

Simon Chesterman

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 15 January 2021

Subject(s):
Rule of law — Codification — Right to liberty and security of person — Equality before the law — Right to fair trial — Universal international organizations

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law under the direction of Professor Anne Peters (2021–) and Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum (2004–2020). 

1 The preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) (‘UDHR’) states that ‘it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law’ (para. 3 Preamble UDHR). Agreement as to the importance of the rule of law has often been undermined by uncertainty as to its content. A core definition of the rule of law as it has evolved over time appears to have three elements.2 First, the power of the State may not be exercised...
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