Zur Politisierung des Völkerrechts: Parlamentarische Versammlungen im Außenverhältnis
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Parliamentarism and international law do not seem to go well together. Governments are the primary actors at the international and even at the European level, whereas parliaments are being sidelined. In this process, a certain element of procedural legitimacy gets lost: Parliaments provide the political law-making process with a space in which an issue can be politicized and debated. The existence of institutionalized opposition legitimizes the dissenting political perspective, enables political critique of the law – alternatively – and provides the law-making process with initiative and change – revisability. Consequently, there have been calls to confront the political deficit at the international level by way of institutionalizing contestation or politicization. This article draws attention to the politicizing potential of international parliamentary assemblies. The external relations of international organizations and in particular of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) present a little researched field which can demonstrate how a parliamentary assembly can fulfil a connecting and politicizing function in the decentralized and fragmented institutional system of inter national law. Through inter-institutional contracts, PACE functions as an external parliamentary dimension to a number of international organizations, such as the OECD and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. With regard to the handling of the H1N1 infuenza (Swine Flu), it has it has acted as a severe critic of the handling of the Swine Flu pandemic through the WHO. Reporting duties, hearings and resolutions have led not only to policy changes but also to procedural improvements and even to the stepping back of leading personnel within those institutions. This article points to the potential of parliamentary assemblies to build an institutionalized external opposition to international organizations and therewith help to encounter the political deficit created by the internationalization of law-making.