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  • Author: Cleo Meinicke
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Public International Law Policy Group
  • Abstract: In October 2018, the Bosnian state court indicted a former soldier of crimes against humanity for his involvement in the murder and enforced disappearance of civilians in the Kljuc area. In September of that year, a German court convicted Ibrahim Al F. for war crimes committed in Syria and in the same month a military tribunal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo found two military commanders guilty of crimes against humanity committed in the villages of Kamananga and Lumenje (South Kivu). These are just three recent examples of domestic efforts in the prosecution of those responsible for international crimes. Based on the complementarity principle of the International Criminal Court (ICC), where states are “unwilling or unable” to prosecute international crimes, the ICC may step in to prosecute those most responsible for the commission of the crimes under its jurisdiction, namely genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. However, out of 28 cases before the Court since its inception in 2001 only three resulted in successful convictions. Several suspects were acquitted after lengthy proceedings, of which Gbagbo and Blé Goudé are the latest examples. Therefore, the ICC should be regarded as a last resort while domestic courts carry the main responsibility to prosecute those responsible for international crimes.
  • Topic: Crime, International Law, Crimes Against Humanity, International Criminal Court (ICC)
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Germany, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bosnia and Hercegovina
  • Author: Phedra Neel
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Public International Law Policy Group
  • Abstract: Between the 7th and 10th February 2019, Human Rights Watch organized, in cooperation with De Balie, the seventh edition of the Human Rights Weekend. This year’s topic was “Where do I stand” and invited the attendees to think about how they are (in)directly involved in human rights violations and how they can contribute in ending these violations. The program consisted of masterclasses, lectures, and documentaries. One of these documentaries showed the incredible story of Nadia Murad. Nadia is a Yazidi girl, who witnessed her community being murdered by ISIS. She was later captured herself and forced to become a sex slave. Today she is known as the most recent Nobel peace Prize winner for her global advocacy campaign to fight for the rights of the Yazidi. This campaign consists of addressing heads of states and governments, asking for help for the survivors and for the attack on her people to be considered as genocide. Whereas some states have indeed passed legislation that recognizes the events as genocide, others refuse to do so until the United Nations (UN) itself officially uses the word genocide to describe the atrocities.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, Crimes Against Humanity, International Criminal Court (ICC)
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Francisca De Castro
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Public International Law Policy Group
  • Abstract: ince the 1960s, Colombia has been faced with a situation of armed violence that has plunged the country in insecurity and crisis. Groups of farmers had created self-defense militias, which later turned into guerrilla groups, over agrarian disputes with the government. The violence turned into a conflict between state forces, paramilitary groups, and guerrilla groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), amongst others. In 2016, the Colombian government and the FARC signed a peace agreement which put an end to more than 60 years of civil war. However, three years later, the humanitarian reality in Colombia is still far from resolved. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported that the humanitarian situation in Colombia had in fact decayed in 2018. According to the ICRC, this was a consequence of the five remaining armed conflicts with other groups that were running in parallel, and the ineffective state response to these conflicts in certain rural communities, such asthe Catatumbo and the Cauca regions.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Violence, Peace, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America
  • Author: Tanushree Nigam
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Public International Law Policy Group
  • Abstract: n a major decision, the International Criminal Court ruled on September 6, 2018 that the Court may exercise jurisdiction over the crime of alleged deportation of the Rohingyas from Myanmar to Bangladesh. The Pre-Trial Chamber accepted the OTP’s argument that the Court may exercise jurisdiction over the crime of cross border deportation of Rohingyas even though the alleged crime had been committed in Myanmar which is not a State Party. The Pre-Trial Chamber stated that this could be done as some “elements of the crime” had taken place in the territory of Bangladesh, which is a State Party. This judgment makes a towering statement that ICC’s jurisdiction is objective rather than subjective in nature. In this post, I discuss the basis and implications of the Chamber’s findings.
  • Topic: Legal Theory , International Criminal Court (ICC), Humanitarian Crisis, Deportation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Myanmar
  • Author: Gary King, Melissa Sands
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Universities require faculty and students planning research involving human subjects to pass formal certification tests and then submit research plans for prior approval. Those who diligently take the tests may better understand certain important legal requirements but, at the same time, are often misled into thinking they can apply these rules to their own work which, in fact, they are not permitted to do. They will also be missing many other legal requirements not mentioned in their training but which govern their behaviors. Finally, the training leaves them likely to completely misunderstand the essentially political situation they find themselves in. The resulting risks to their universities, collaborators, and careers may be catastrophic, in addition to contributing to the more common ordinary frustrations of researchers with the system. To avoid these problems, faculty and students conducting research about and for the public need to understand that they are public figures, to whom different rules apply, ones that political scientists have long studied. University administrators (and faculty in their part-time roles as administrators) need to reorient their perspectives as well. University research compliance bureaucracies have grown, in well-meaning but sometimes unproductive ways that are not required by federal laws or guidelines. We offer advice to faculty and students for how to deal with the system as it exists now, and suggestions for changes in university research compliance bureaucracies, that should benefit faculty, students, staff, university budgets, and our research subjects.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jürgen Haacke
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: In the context of the complex unipolar post-Cold War period that has witnessed China’s reemergence as an economic and military power, small and middle powers are increasingly considered to be hedging. This analysis is especially prevalent in relation to Southeast Asian countries, many of which face security challenges posed by China. However, as the literature on hedging has expanded, the concept’s analytical value is no longer obvious. Different understandings of hedging compete within the literature, and there are many criteria by which hedging is empirically ascertained, leading to confusion even over the basic question of which countries are hedging. In response, this article presents a modified conceptual and methodological framework that clearly delineates hedging from other security strategies and identifies key criteria to evaluate whether smaller powers are hedging when confronting a serious security challenge by one of the major powers. This framework is then applied to Malaysia and Singapore.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Post Cold War
  • Political Geography: China, Malaysia, Asia, Singapore, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Paul Saunders, John Van Oudenaren
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the National Interest
  • Abstract: The report provides a synthesis of Japanese and American expert perspectives on the recent history, current state and future prospects for Japan-Russia relations. The authors examine the political, diplomatic, security, economic and energy dynamics of this important, but understudied relationship. They also assess how the Japan-Russia relationship fits within the broader geopolitical context of the Asia-Pacific region, factoring in structural determinants such as China’s rise and the level of U.S. presence in the region. Finally, the authors consider potential policy implications for the United States, paying special attention to how shifts in relations between Tokyo and Moscow could impact the U.S.-Japan alliance. As Saunders observes in his introduction to the volume, the currently shifting strategic environment in the Asia-Pacific region, which is a central factor in Tokyo and Moscow’s efforts to foster constructive relations, also raises a host of questions for the US-Japan alliance. What are the prospects for Japan-Russia relations? What are Russian and Japanese objectives in their bilateral relations? How does the Trump administration view a possible improvement in Russia-Japan relations and to what extent will U.S. officials seek to limit such developments? Is the U.S.-Russia relationship likely to worsen and in so doing to spur further China-Russia cooperation? Could a better Russia-Japan relationship weaken the U.S.-Japan alliance? Or might it in fact serve some U.S. interests?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jennifer R. Dresden, Thomas E. Flores, Irfan Nooruddin
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: The notion that robust democracy and violent conflict are linked is commonplace. Many observers of international politics attribute violent conflict in contexts as diverse as Myanmar and Syria to failures of democracy. Conversely, most agree that continuing political violence undermines any effort to build strong democratic institutions in Libya or South Sudan. As a matter of policy, democratization has often been promoted not only as an end in itself but as a means toward building peace in societies scarred by violence. Development professionals tackle these challenges daily, confronting vicious cycles of political violence and weak democratic institutions. At the same time, scholars have dedicated intense scrutiny to these questions, often finding that the interrelationships between conflict and democracy belie easy categorization. This report, the third in a series on democratic theories of change, critically engages with this literature to ask three questions: Under what circumstances do democratic practice or movement toward democracy quell (or exacerbate) the risk of different kinds of violent conflict? Under what circumstances do the risk and experience of violent conflict undermine democratic practice? How can external interventions mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities inherent in transitions to democracy and peace? To answer these questions, a research team at George Mason University and Georgetown University spent eight months compiling, organizing, and evaluating the academic literature connecting democratic practice and violent conflict, which spans the fields of political science, economics, peace studies, anthropology, sociology, and psychology. This work was funded by USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (the DRG Center), under the Institute of International Education’s (IIE’s) Democracy Fellows and Grants Program. Beginning in May 2018, the authors organized a team of three research assistants, who read and summarized more than 600 journal articles, books, reports, and newspaper articles. The resulting White Paper was the subject of an August 2018 workshop with representatives from USAID and an interdisciplinary group of eight scholars with expertise in conflict and democracy. Based on their feedback, the authors developed a new Theories of Change Matrix and White Paper in October 2018. This draft received further written feedback from USAID and another three scholars. The core team then revised the report again to produce this final draft. This report’s approach to the literature differs from past phases of the Theories of Democratic Change project. While past reports detailed the hypothesized causes of democratic backsliding (Phase I) and democratic transitions (Phase II), this report focuses on the reciprocal relationship between democratic practice and conflict. The report therefore organizes hypotheses into two questions and then sub-categories within each question.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Education, Democracy, Conflict, Political Science, USAID
  • Political Geography: Libya, Syria, North America, Myanmar, South Sudan, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Gilbert Tietaah, Sulemana Braimah
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: West Africa sits at a critical juncture that will determine whether the coming years are spent defending against reversals in media freedom and pluralism, or moving forward toward new and lasting progress. In this context, the Media Foundation for West Africa consulted stakeholders from all 16 countries of the West Africa region on the question of how cross-border coalitions can help to promote a robust and independent press. This report puts forward a vision for such a region-wide strategy, and how it can coordinate the efforts of civil society organizations, media actors, government allies, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Specifically, the report highlights four concrete actions that could be taken as the foundation for such a coordinated, regional strategy.
  • Topic: Media, Journalism, The Press, Freedom of Press
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Author: Bill Orme
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: The United Nations made a promise in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to promote free and independent media around the world. Citizens cannot “seek, receive and impart information and ideas, through any medium, regardless of frontiers” without access to a vibrant media sphere, including a free and open internet. But how does the UN interpret and act upon this obligation? How is that changing? And how can the UN help create a more effective response to the profound challenges confronting independent media? This report examines the myriad ways that the agencies and bodies of the United Nations support the development of healthy media systems. Author Bill Orme highlights the role of four UN organizations in particular—UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, and DPO—and makes recommendations targeted to these agencies, as well as to UN member states and donors.
  • Topic: Development, United Nations, Journalism, The Press, Freedom of Press
  • Political Geography: Global