Tobias Berger and Milli Lake
This chapter examines the promotion of human rights, the rule of law, and democracy by external actors in areas of limited statehood. It begins with the definition of key terms and a brief overview of the historical trajectory in which contemporary interventions by external actors unfold. We then discuss cross-cutting issues and introduce the key actors involved in the promotion of human rights, the rule of law, and democracy. Analysing each of these issue areas in turn, we make three overarching arguments. Firstly, we highlight the multiplicity of outcomes that result from external interventions, whose impacts prove highly unevenly and spatially dispersed. Secondly, we emphasize the crucial influence of local actors and pre-existing institutions in shaping the outcomes of any governance intervention. Finally, we note that external actors have tended to rely on state-centric conceptualizations of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights.
Since May 1999, the Nigerian judiciary has increasingly been called upon to play a more critical role in interpreting the constitution, ensuring the enforcement of the rule of law and the protection of civil liberties. During this period, Nigerian society has also been confronting serious problems concerning ethnic tensions, endemic corruption, and a weak and oil-dependent economy. The judiciary itself has had to contend with serious problems of its own, including corruption amongst some of its judges. This chapter examines how the judiciary, even while dealing with serious challenges of its own, has been able to play an important role in resolving the disputes within Nigeria’s unfolding democratic experience.