GoJIL Vol. 6, No. 2 (2014)
Opening the Forum to the Others: Is There an Obligation to Take Non-National- Interests Into Account Within National Political and Juridical Decision-Making-Processes?
Decisions taken in a national forum affect the interests of individuals who, as non-citizens, are excluded from the decision-making-process. In the contemporary world, individuals and social groups can be severely harmed as a result of decisions taken far away from the place where they live and often even without any direct intervention. The issue of the consideration of non-national interests within national decision-making-processes is thus becoming increasingly important. The contribution begins with a brief analysis of the concept of solidarity , as the legal obligation to take into account non-national interests has been labelled in the international law scholarship. In contemporary international law, solidarity is a principle to be interpreted and further developed, rather than a right articulated in firm rules. Yet, from the epistemological point of view the legal system is always based on extra-legal concepts and reasoning. Thus, the reference in legal principles to non-legal arguments should not be regarded as a disadvantage but as a precious contribution to the inescapable link between legal and extra-legal discourses. On the basis of this assumption, the article concentrates on the main extra-legal reasons that have been brought into the debate in order either to deny both the existence of a duty of solidarity within the lex lata as well as the necessity to introduce it de lege ferenda; or, on the contrary, to maintain the paramount importance of such a duty. The analysis will end with some considerations on how the political and juridical forum could be concretely opened up, through proper legal and institutional arrangements, to a deliberation that gives access to the arguments of the others.
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