chapter  5
17 Pages

The promotion of Rule of Law in translation

Technologies of normative knowledge transfer in South Sudan’s constitution making
WithKatrin Seidel

Global governance institutions and INGOs experimenting in South Sudan’s constitution-making process have brought in their toolboxes full of modules, guidelines, ‘good’ and‘best’ practices and ‘project law’ techniques for the establishment of RoL. I reflect on how the diverse ‘technologies of governance’ and ‘tools’ produce normativity and what effects those tools have in light of the translation processes that inevitably accompany the circulation of models. The normative frames guarantee that ‘donors’ will have a dominant influence when it comes to setting the agenda and designing and implementing ‘projects’. The establishment of RoL as a‘grundnorm’ seems to be nourished through a managerial mindset accompanied by specific technologies, instruments and vocabulary. It is argued thatthe international RoL frame regulates South Sudan’s state-formation process in a way that obstructs thepossibility of integrating the plural normative ideas of statehood that necessarily arise from a segmented society into any semblance of unity.

Even though South Sudanese actors are forced to negotiate within the highly contested international normative frames, the chapter demonstrates that the localtranslation dynamics of the frame and tools are controlled by local politics. The resulting translations seem to be contrary to the stated intentions of the rule of law ideas.