In 2023, the RLI* was calculated for 142 jurisdictions: compared to the previous year, the Index covers also Kuwait and Montenegro. We described the method for calculating the RLI in further detail here.
As in previous years, Denmark (score of 0.9), Norway (0.89), Finland (0.87) and Sweden (0.85) are at the top of the ranking.
The lowest score is assigned to Venezuela (0.26), Cambodia (0.31), Afghanistan (0.32), Haiti (0.34) and the Democratic of Congo (0.34).
The most considerable backsliding in the rule of law over the recent year is registered in Sudan (-0.03), Mali (-0.02), Iran (-0.02), Nicaragua (-0.02) and Afghanistan (-0.01). Bulgaria (+0.01), Honduras (+0.01), Kenya (+0.01), Slovenia (+0.01) and Jordan (+0.01) have improved their performance in the same period of time, while Uzbekistan (+0.05), Moldova (+0.04), Zimbabwe (+0.03), Kazakhstan (+0.03) and Malaysia (+0.03) have made progress since 2016.
The final assessment of the Russian Federation has decreased by 0.01, placing the country the 113th (in 2022, 107th). Under the factor “Absence of Corruption” our country has gone down two lines and has been assigned the 92th place in the ranking.
In the regional ranking for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Russia is placed the last but one (between Belarus and Türkiye). Georgia is a constant leader in the region (48th place in the general ranking).
All in all, the expert assessment demonstrates that the level of the rule of law has been gradually decreasing since 2016 in 78% of countries with most problems associated with “Fundamental Rights”, since this factor has a negative trend in 77% of countries.
One of the reasons of these trends, in the opinion of the researchers, is the COVID-19 pandemic that favoured the expansion of powers of public authorities, on the one hand, and the curtailment of civil rights, on the other hand. The performance under the factor “Constraints on Government Powers” has worsened in 74% of countries since 2016 due to the weakened supervision of the legislature and the judiciary, as well as civil society and the media over executive bodies under the factors: civic participation – in 83% of countries, freedom of assembly and association – in 81%, and freedom of opinion and expression – in 78%.
However, the researchers stress that over the recent two years the negative trend has been gradually reversing: in spite of the fact that in 2023 most countries (56%) demonstrate again poorer performance under the factor “Fundamental Rights”, the results are slightly better than in 2022 (66%).