Introduction: Power and Accountability in Latin America and Africa
The last two decades have witnessed a transformation of superior court behavior in many less developed countries. These courts have metamorphosized from being moribund, rubber-stamping institutions with little importance in political matters to more forceful, assertive institutions that constrain the behavior of popular branches of government and that hold them responsible when they break the law. In short, in recent decades, many superior courts have emerged as more independent, assertive, and powerful accountability agents. But, this has not been universally true. While some courts have exercised strong accountability functions, others have either remained passive or have inconsistent track records of holding popular branches to account. The puzzle that motivates this book, then, concerns the variation in the exercise of accountability functions of superior courts in Latin America and Africa over the last two decades. Why and when are courts able and willing to exercise accountability functions vis-à-vis power holders?
KeywordsLegal Tradition Democratic Governance Democratic Principle Political Space Power Holder
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