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Karen J. Alter, Laurence R. Helfer, and Mikael Rask Madsen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795582

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198795582.001.0001

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The SADC Tribunal

The SADC Tribunal

Sociopolitical Dissonance and the Authority of International Courts

Chapter:
(p.124) 6 The SADC Tribunal
Source:
International Court Authority
Author(s):

E. Tendayi Achiume

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198795582.003.0006

This chapter uses the trajectory of the Southern African Development Community (“SADC”) Tribunal to chart sociopolitical constraints on international judicial lawmaking. It studies the SADC Tribunal backlash case, which paved the way for a curtailment of the Tribunal’s authority, stripping the Tribunal of both private access and its jurisdiction over human rights. Showing how jurisprudential engagement with sociopolitical context plays a significant role in explaining the Tribunal's loss of authority, the chapter introduces the concept of sociopolitical dissonance. Sociopolitical dissonance is a state that results when a legal decision contradicts or undermines deeply held norms that a given society or community forms on the basis of its social, political, and economic history. Sociopolitical resonance, on the other hand, describes the quality of affirming or according with a given society's norms as informed by its sociopolitical history.

Keywords:   Southern African Development Community, SADC Tribunal, jurisdiction, sociopolitical dissonance, sociopolitical resonance, authority, norms, sociopolitical history

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