Rule of Law
Definition/Scope: (FM 3-07) Rule of law is a principle under which all persons, institutions, and entities, public and private, including the state itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced, and independently adjudicated, and that are consistent with international human rights principles. It also requires measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in applying the law, separation of powers, participation in decision making, and legal certainty. Such measures also help to avoid arbitrariness as well as promote procedural and legal transparency. Rule of law establishes principles that limit the power of government by setting rules and procedures that prohibit the accumulation of autocratic or oligarchic power. It dictates government conduct according to prescribed and publicly recognized regulations while protecting the rights of all members of society. It also provides a vehicle to resolve disputes nonviolently and in a manner integral to establishing enduring peace and stability. In general terms, rule of law exists when: the state monopolizes the use of force in the resolution of disputes; individuals are secure in their persons and property.; the state is bound by law and does not act arbitrarily; the law can be readily determined and is stable enough to allow individuals to plan their affairs; individuals have meaningful access to an effective and impartial justice system; the state protects basic human rights and fundamental freedoms; individuals rely on the existence of justice institutions and the content of law in the conduct of their daily lives.
Broader Terms:CMF 38 (Civil Affairs)
Narrower Terms:failed state
Related Terms:civic rights