The Foundation

The Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law provides assistance to the reconstruction or restructuring of the internal organisation to States which have experienced radical change in relation to their constitutional law. Beneficiaries and stakeholders of the Foundation’s expertise include States which are trying to re-establish public order following civil wars, States undergoing a change of direction (e.g. Sudan or Somalia), new States which come into existence after having seceded from other States (such as South Sudan) and States which are trying to realign their legal systems in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

The assistance provided comprises two fundamental objectives. Firstly, advice and assistance to official institutions for the development of new constitutions, the revision of existing constitutions as well as advice related to the passing of new legislation and legislative reform. The second necessary component constitutes the training of parliamentarians, civil society, other persons involved in the legislative process, and legal education for lawyers and judges.

These two objectives, consultation and training, often overlap. Training generally focuses on constitutional law, international law (especially the protection of human rights as well as international humanitarian law), the relationship between national and international law, proceedings in national courts, principles of fair legal processes and professional legal skills.

Guiding Principles

The Foundation provides advice to and builds legal capacities in its partner countries as a politically neutral and unbiased actor. This is paramount for maintaining trusting partnerships with stakeholders and beneficiaries and ultimately in providing sustainable and long-lasting support. With this in mind, the Foundation ensures an approach inclusive of all peaceful and non-radical actors.

The Foundation is an independent legal entity and its sole stakeholder is the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science. Together with local partners, the Foundation decides on the activities undertaken and the way in which they are developed and implemented without any third-party influence.

Local ownership is fundamental to the Foundation’s work. One of the key aims is to establish dialogue amongst local stakeholders and to build trust. This in turn means the exact format of a project, its objectives and activities are determined by local stakeholders and are developed in cooperation with the Foundation. Most importantly it is entirely up to the partners on how they apply and implement the outcomes; the Foundation cannot, and will not, influence this. The role of the Foundation is to give advice, which is being based upon research on comparative public law and international law.

The Foundation’s work is first and foremost based on applied research. To ensure consistency, the Foundation observes the highest academic standards and closely cooperates with research organisations, such as those from the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science and an established network within other academic institutions. Highly qualified in-house experts develop and propose tailored solutions for complex problems in project countries. In addition to the country projects, the Foundation’s peer-reviewed publications and research projects reiterate the fact that academic quality is not compromised, and these serve as a reference tool for all projects on a daily basis.

Furthermore, the Foundation actively engages in academic research from a comparative perspective with a view to supporting the above mentioned objectives.

The Foundation is a fully-owned subsidiary of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Sciencea non-profit German research organisation currently operating more than 80 institutes and research facilities.

The Foundation was founded in 2013 and is a non-for-profit limited liability company established under German law with its headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany. The Foundation staff continues to work on the activities of a group of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, which was started in 2002 under the overall management of Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum. Details of the projects carried out by the group between 2002 and 2012 can be found in the 10 Year Report.

With the Foundation’s establishment, the responsibility for continuously increasing the content of the projects along with their ongoing geographic expansion falls upon several shoulders. There are two Managing Directors who spearhead strategic development; they also manage projects in specific regions. Johannes Krusemark-Camin is responsible for Latin America and Asia. Dr Kathrin Maria Scherr is responsible for all projects in MENA and Sub-Saharan Africa.