The introduction of the rule of law is an integral part of state-building. Ensuring that a state has a fully established legal system involves intricate tasks such as formulating policies, developing laws, and training people in the importance and adherence to administrative regulations. To accomplish this objective, there is a need to involve both practicing and entry-level lawyers in the development of national policies. There must be a reservoir of legal professionals to enforce the law for a legal system to be entrenched in developing a nation. This means that the availability of legal professionals will help individuals to understand the available legal remedies that support state-building. Unfortunately, many countries do not have sufficient legal practitioners. Therefore, there is a need to execute processes that are aimed at recomposing the national institutions to mirror the expectations of society. This essay explains the role of law in building a state.
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The Role of the Constitution in the National Building
The rule of law is a prerequisite for national building achieved with the tenets of the constitution. It revolves around accountability, honesty, transparency, and selflessness, which can be realized in both local and international institutions. There are international institutions that are developed to ensure that the rule of law is observed by member states. For instance, the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Inter-American systems are relevant in ensuring that the rule of law is observed. Specifically, the International Criminal Court has played a critical role in ensuring that member states observe the rule of law that has supported national building, especially in most African countries. In domestic affairs, the rule of law is a key pillar that ensures right-based democratic states achieve good governance. The rule of law and good governance must be interwoven together to support nation-building.
However, this interaction is uneven and non-linear as the stakes are high. Good governance ensures that political power is exercised in a way that ensures resources are distributed evenly among all citizens. This complexity must be clearly understood by donor communities. Many donors hold diverse views on the rule of law agenda. They emphasize that national building should constitute criminal justice, security, and administrative reforms that are centered on human rights. However, the connection between the rule of law and donors does not tell us about its purpose in national building. Over the years, state development agendas have dispelled earlier myths on the rule of law and political institutions. At a discursive level, the state-building has proved that it cannot be achieved unless there are established rules governing both leaders and citizens. Therefore, it has become imperative to recognize the importance of the interaction between formal and informal rules that shape the complex interaction between society and the state.
National Building through the Development of Political Institutions
The rule of law connotes that all regulations should be by the laid down procedures that govern a nation. Therefore, it presumes that both citizens and lawmakers are subject to the law to ensure entitlement to various human rights and privileges. State building does not necessarily mean capacitating state institutions. It entails the establishment of a mutual relationship between the state and its citizens. It is the enforcement of a set of norms, rules, and politics that govern both society and the state itself. This relationship is viewed as a political settlement that delineates the checks and balances. The relationship is guided by the rule of law because it denotes the result of this political process. Thus, the rule of law is the key pillar essential in the success or failure of state-building projects. Experience in the Middle East has proved that priority should be given to institutional building over ensuring accountability, security, and protection of human rights. The rule of law is achieved by prioritizing the advancement of judicial institutions that support reforms and ultimately ensure state development.
However, ensuring that the rule of law is observed is a sticky task because it involves the exercise of political power and the distribution of resources. In most cases, the rule of law is often technocratic and endeavors to achieve political interest. It is seen as a tool used by legislators to accomplish administrative goals. Therefore, it is essential to identify opening points to address long-term development agendas.
The role of law in state building is to ensure that countries achieve their territorial integrity and centralized institutions that have monopoly rather than physical power. Although many countries have implemented state-building operations, they have failed to achieve success. In some cases, they have collapsed into conflicts. For instance, various republics in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East have implemented the rule of law ineffectively. Most countries have struggled to enforce it on their fragmented and divided societies. The main question remains on how these societies achieve compatible state laws for development. As a reason, the constitution becomes an important set of governing laws that protect the rights of the diverse population.
The enforcement of the rule of law entitles citizens security to their privileges besides alleviating exploitation by special interest groups, especially amongst the leaders. Moreover, it helps to establish the relationship between people and their government. Therefore, the process of constitutional making should be viewed as a political and legal process that will ensure the states achieve democracy and public participation. This argument means that states must show liberal democracy and high public participation to achieve development. Various philosophers and researchers have regarded the constitution as a binding document that ensures that citizens adhere to the rule of law. Furthermore, there is less exploration of the role of public participation in constitutional making and how it helps the state achieve both economic development and democracy. Many factors come into play to ensure that the rule of law supports state-building.
At the outset, the rule of law represents the political will and established institutions to ensure accountability in the government. There must be well-defined institutions of power to constrain leaders in a widely accepted set of rules. This objective can be realized in the form of a constitution or traditional rules that build up over time including community laws. Their importance in state building is to ensure that the actions of both leaders and citizens are controlled. However, the best way countries can achieve state building is through structuring around democratic forms that are separated into the legislature, judiciary, and executive branches.
Secondly, state-building is achieved when the rule of law helps to protect the rights of its citizens by ensuring they observe human rights and inclusive social practices. It is also achieved when society is embedded in the state through the realization of human rights. It is through these rights that citizens shape the political sphere and growth of the state. When a country respects the rule of law, it gives its citizens both legal and political rights to develop its development agendas. It means that there must be proper mechanisms of readiness that ensure they are entitled to their rights. The success of these applications depends on the access to justice and the predictable application of the state’s laws.
Furthermore, the rule of law achieves national building when it protects its citizens by offering security from varying levels of threats. State-building is unachievable if citizens are subjected to intimidation and insecurity. Emphasis should be put in policing of the state institutions to enhance security. Today, the rule of law is supported by a growing web of international conventions of human rights. Although these soft laws cannot be enforced, they offer a guideline on the acceptable behaviors of the country’s frontrunners.
When good governance is controlled by the rule of law, it enhances nation-building. This means that state-building relies on the establishment of apt governing institutions. The inscriptive of building a nation is never a one-day affair but is always a continuous work. The rule of law guides citizens who consider national building an important aspect of fostering social-economic development. Ideally, state-building is achieved by the zeal and consciousness of its citizens. However, this zeal can only be achieved if citizens and leaders are guided by well-established laws. The wealth accumulated by the state gains significance in national building upon the execution of government regulations. The growth of a nation can be viewed from different points of view.
For instance, it involves the development of political and judicial entities that correspond to a given territory. However, they must be based on acceptable norms and common citizenship. The development of a nation also involves establishing and promoting political institutions including such as hospitals, schools, and law courts among others. The rule of law ensures that citizens in these institutions have a sense of purpose that is imperative in ensuring that they have a defined destiny as a nation. Therefore, state-building is about developing both tangible and intangible political systems to bring about a sense of direction. The national building aims to ensure a harmonious relationship amongst citizens to promote a feeling of belongingness. The constitutions of many countries encapsulate the objective of the rule of law in national building.
In summary, the rule of law represents the political will and established institutions to ensure accountability in government. There must be well-established institutions of power to constrain leaders in a widely accepted set of rules. National building involves the development of political and judicial entities that represent the interests of the citizens in the state government based on acceptable rules and collective citizenship. The rule of law is a key pillar that ensures right-based democratic states achieve good governance. Together with good governance, it forms a strong framework for supporting the national building. Nevertheless, various studies show that most countries have struggled to enforce the rule of law on their fragmented and divided societies. To ensure state-building, the government should play a central role in ensuring ultimate obedience to its presiding institutions.