AbstractNumerous governments have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by declaring states of emergency and restricting individual liberties protected by international law. However, many more states have adopted emergency measures than have formally derogated from human rights conventions. This Editorial Comment critically evaluates the existing system of human rights treaty derogations. It analyzes the system's problems, identifies recent developments that have exacerbated these problems, and proposes a range of reforms in five areas—embeddedness, engagement, information, timing, and scope.
In a working paper based on extensive field research and interviews, Karen Alter, James Gathii, and I analyze three recent backlash attempts against sub-regional courts in East, West, and Southern Africa. Our paper analyzes credible proposals by African governments to restrict the jurisdiction of these courts in response to politically embarrassing rulings. These events are not widely known, and they are at odds with the prevailing view that it is difficult to sanction international judges.