Agent Run Amuck: The SADC Tribunal and Governance Transfer Roll-back
until further notice
Basingstoke, UK : Palgrave MacMillan
Governance and Limited Statehood Series
InBörzel, T.A.; Hüllen, V. van (ed.), Governance Transfer by Regional Organizations, pp. 84-103
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Hüllen, V. van
Politicologie t/m 2019
Börzel, T.A.; Hüllen, V. van (ed.), Governance Transfer by Regional Organizations
SubjectDistributional Conflicts in a Globalizing World: Consequences for State-Market-Civil Society Arrangements
The Southern African Development Community (SADC), an intergovernmental regional organization, in 2005 established a regional tribunal with supranational features, only to suspend it some years later after it produced an undesirable ruling. This represents a unique and puzzling case of governance transfer ‘roll-back’. We argue that intrinsic demand for the establishment of the Tribunal at the level of the Summit — SADC’s ultimate authority — was never high to begin with, and that it was adopted mainly as a donor-pleasing accessory. When the Tribunal overstepped its mandate relatively early in its life, not only granting itself jurisdiction in the realm of human rights but also ruling against the Zimbabwean government in a politically sensitive case, it was dismantled by the Summit. But, if donor incentives played a role in establishing the Tribunal, they cannot explain its suspension. Furthermore, institutionalist approaches would claim that a ‘lock-in’ effect should prevent institutionalized commitments at the regional level from being undone. We explain this in terms of ‘reading from the donor script’, which results in poorly embedded institutions lacking real commitment at the executive level. Developing states are only willing to read from the donor script as long as it does not threaten their core interests, which, in the case of SADC, are deeply embedded in the region’s history and political culture.
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