Supreme Courts and Judicial Independence

As the British philosopher David Hume argued, constitutions must be devised for knaves. He believed that political actors will always try to manipulate the constitution in their own interest. Therefore, institutions are needed to ensure that constitutional stipulations are observed. In democracies that are committed to the rule of law, this role is traditionally performed by the judiciary.

The following paper looks at the various systems and practices that have been developed to protect the rights anchored in the constitution. Constitutional courts can either review a law before it is adopted to determine whether it is in conflict with the constitution or they may be called upon to apply the law in a concrete legal dispute. The paper will also address issues such as how to ensure judicial independence and which processes can be used to select judges. It concludes with a discussion of the role of the courts in protecting ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.


Power Sharing for a United Syria is a project run by the European Centre for Kurdish Studies. In Power Sharing for a United Syria, we work on three main pillars Capacity building and dialogue workshops, Policy advice, and Transparency. 
In Power Sharing for a United Syria, we regularly organize workshops on constitutional law and the writing of a constitution with members of the Syrian opposition and Syrian civil society. On one hand, Our Advisory Board supports in particular members of the Small Group of the Constitutional Committee to anchor minority rights as an important part of human rights in the constitution. We want to build bridges between the different members of the opposition and representatives of civil society. Moreover, we want to support them in developing mutual positions regarding power-sharing, minority rights and women’s rights. On the other hand, in order to increase the transparency of the Syrian Constitutional Committee (SCC) and its work, we publish, among other things, video clips covering various topics related to the constitutional process.

This topic is discussed more in detail in our full article. Unfortunately, it is available only in German or Arabic.