SANA'A, Jan 11 (Saba) - Former European Commissioner and founder of the Italian 'No Peace Without Justice' organization Emma Bonino said on Sunday that democracy and the rule of law is the "least worst system in order to promote human and economic development."
"Democracy, founded on the principle that the government of a country is based on the will and consent of the governed, promotes choice, voice and access to rights," she said in a keynote speech before the Sana'a Inter-Governmental Regional Conference on Democracy, Human Rights and the Role of the ICC.
Bonino said elections are, therefore, only one hallmark of democracy.
"elections are necessary but are not sufficient for a system or country to be democratic."
"Democracy both requires and is safeguarded by the separation of powers between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of Government, providing an independent system of checks and balances to avoid the concentration of power."
Moreover, she said, democracy also requires that these branches of government carry out their mandates openly and transparently. This is where civil society, particularly the media, comes in.
She also said that democracy does not come in different types. "There is no such thing as a 'Western' democracy or an 'African' democracy or an 'Arab' democracy."
However, she said, it is true to say that the mechanisms by which democracy is implemented, such as the procedures or the electoral system, can be different.
"In fact, this is a logical by-product of democracy coming from the will and consent of the people, which of necessity are shaped by their cultures and traditions. But the fundamental principles of democracy remain the same, including the systems by which democracy and human rights must be safeguarded."
Bonino said democracy "is an imperfect system. It is a complex and fragile system, which needs constant care and monitoring. It is a process, not a fixed moment in time. Even well-established democratic political systems can run the risk of being spoiled by controlled or censored information or by limited participation unless there is vigilance by every actor in the system."