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6 Int'l J. Civ. Soc'y L. 3 (2008)

handle is hein.journals/ijcsl6 and id is 1 raw text is: LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

January 31, 2008
Dear Readers,
This quarter we are honored to bring to you several interesting articles and a book review coming
from various parts of the world.
The Articles section of this issue features the following:
1. Dr. V enap Cakmak's discussion of Civil Society Actors in International Law and
World Politics. As Dr. Cakmak points out, the role of NGOs in the development of
policies at the UN and other international bodies has grown markedly since World War
II, and the analysis of what impact that has had is increasingly important. The ways in
which non-state actors influence the development of international law, in particular
international human rights law, has been noted by many scholars. This is the first time
that IJCSL seeks to address this significant issue, and it welcomes the perspective of a
well-known Turkish scholar on it.
2. Ms. Maria Latukhina, a PhD Student at the University of Saskatchewan in the
Department of Sociology, has contributed a paper on the question of the civil society
deficit in Russia. Her analysis suggests that not only is the government repression of
NGOs and independent media effective, but the Russian people also do not participate in
civic activity. They are either indifferent or they maintain a strong belief that they cannot
influence the government. She suggests some efforts at education to build a sense of
civic awareness in the youth of the country in order for Russia to become more
democratic in the long run.
3. The article about the legal and fiscal environment for civil society organizations in
Germany is written by our frequent contributor and Editorial Board member Dr. Michael
Ernst-Poerksen. It describes the various legal forms of NPOs in Germany and the tax
benefits they and their donors receive. This important paper includes the most recent
(2007) changes in tax benefits and describes how the landscape has changed, but not
markedly, from what it was before. The article is part of a series that will include the<
e3> Project - Civil Societies in the Euromed Region.
4. Special Section on Zimbabwe. This section includes two articles by young Zimbabwean
scholars offering two quite different perspectives on developments in that country.
The first, by Mr. Jephias Mapuva, a lecturer at Kwekwe Polytechnic in the Department
of National and Strategic Studies (NASS), discusses the effectiveness of civil society
organizations in engaging government in Zimbabwe. Mr. Mapuva's article contains a
case study of three selected civic organizations, namely the Catholic Commission for
Justice and Peace (CCJP), the Zimbabwe Human Rights Organization (ZimRights) and
the National Constitutional Assembly, (NCA). A detailed analysis of policy documents
indicates that key parts of the legislative framework curtailed citizen participation in
public affairs. Yet, despite the restrictive nature of sections of the legislation guiding civil

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