International Rule of Law Forum – Video Collection

Rule of Law & Authoritarian Ascendance: the Threat and the Legal, Policy and Societal Responses to It — Session 1

The rise of authoritarian or authoritarian-leaning governments and political parties is a trend affecting nations across the globe. In the United States, we have witnessed an undermining of democratic norms and institutions that previously constrained the reach of the Executive Branch. The steady erosion of these norms coupled with an aversion to the rule of law culminated in the January 6 assault on the United States Capitol. However, the U.S. is not alone in this struggle, with populist authoritarian movements gaining support across Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia. These movements often reflect growing resentment at current social and economic conditions, expressed in ideologies spanning the political spectrum in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia.  However, many such movements, whether through governments or private actors, often encourage contempt for minorities and immigrants,  assassination or detention of political opponents, repression of speech and association, glorification of violent ideologies, or undermining of independent judiciaries – all actions that undermine fundamental  human rights and  the rule of law.

How should the United States respond to these movements, both domestically and internationally? What tools already exist, legally or in terms of policies and programs that can help to counter these anti-democratic and often violent movements? How serious a threat do authoritarian movements pose to democracy in the long term? Domestically, is the current Congressional proposal for a Commission on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation – in response to the January 6th insurrection – sufficient? Or are other law enforcement measures required? What is the role of the legal profession in defending and advancing democracy at home and abroad at a time of competing philosophies of governance, widespread dissatisfaction with social or economic inequity and fundamental questions as to the meaning and role of law in addressing these concerns?
Sheila S. Boston
, President, New York City Bar Association

Stephen L. Kass
, Chair, City Bar Task Force on the Rule of Law

Keynote Address:
Ken Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch

Schona Jolly,
QC, Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales
Philippe Sands, University College London 
Ilona Szabo, Igarape Institute 
Ulysses Smith, Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law

Co-Sponsoring Organization:
Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law

**Unfortunately, video from Session 2 of the International Rule of Law Forum cannot be made available.

The Global Multilateral System, the Role of the U.S., and the Prospects for Addressing Today’s Greatest Challenges – Session 3

Since the end of World War II and the inception of the United Nations in 1945, the United States has been a leading proponent of the global multilateral system. Advocates of the global multilateral system believe the United States has furthered its interests by supporting a rules-based international order, while critics argue that the current multilateral system is ineffectual and is increasingly becoming co-opted by malign actors, most notably China. The United States, as well as other nations, have in recent years withdrawn and disengaged from multilateral institutions, which has undermined the multilateral system and the international rule of law.

This session of the International Rule of Law Forum will explore how the multilateral system and the United Nations advances the rule of law on the international stage, with a focus on how these institutions are developing international law to address the emerging global challenges of the 21st century, including climate change, global public health, and cyber threats. The current multilateral system has yet to effectively address these issues, so how can the multilateral system better facilitate the establishment of norms and rules to govern behavior and enhance cooperation on these emerging global challenges?

Ulysses Smith, ESG Senior Advisor, Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP

Clayton Cheney, Co-Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s United Nations Committee

Opening Remarks:
Richard Gowan, UN Director, International Crisis Group

Sue Biniaz, United States Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
José Enrique Alvarez, Herbert and Rose Rubin Professor of International Law, New York University School of Law
The Honorable Hugh T. Dugan, Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director on the National Security Council for International Organization Affairs
Kristen Eichensehr, Director of the National Security Law Center, University of Virginia School of Law