A global jury?

Penn State University has started a program that looks at human rights cases called “The World on Trial.” The neat twist in the show is that “juries throughout the world” review the case, as presented on the show, then “reach a verdict on whether states are conforming to International treaties.”

In 2010, colleagues and I pitched a more institutionalized version of this idea by suggesting that juries could be implemented in the World Court. The article appeared in a symposium on “global democracy” in an issue of Ethics & International Affairs.

Whether on television or in actual practice, the question remains how well people of different cultures could understand and apply a single set of international laws. If they can’t, it’s either a failure of global civic education, for which there is almost no infrastructure, or a deficiency in the laws themselves, if they fail to speak to the moral sensibilities of diverse cultures.

In any case, the pilot episode of “World on Trial” is on YouTube for you to view.

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About jgastil

John Gastil is Head and Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University, where he specializes in political deliberation and group decision making.
This entry was posted in Deliberation on juries, Juries around the world, Public/media views of juries. Bookmark the permalink.

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