Tag Archive for International Criminal Court

Strengths and Weaknesses of Truth Commissions vs. Amnesty Laws as States Recover from the Atrocities of War

(C) Kapok Tree Diplomacy. 2011. All rights reserved. Jeff Dwiggins.  FREE CONTENT

Truth Commissions (TCs) – TCs may be appointed or sponsored by national, international, NGO, or hybrid commissions (Bercovitch & Jackson 156). The strengths of truth commissions may include their low cost, flexibility, “wide range of purposes” that they serve, ability to “reconstitute the moral order and provide a measure of justice when trials are not an option,” usefulness in dealing with “disappearances and killings by anonymous death squads,” potential to end a culture of impunity, role in providing a new transitional government “room to maneuver,” and the “emotional therapy” they provide a “traumatized society” (Bercovitch & Jackson 159). But are TCs ‘compromise justice’ that actually weaken the ability to make peace?

Hayner’s analysis of 15 recent TCs is useful for delineating their strengths and weaknesses. Hayner notes that in Uganda (1974) the TC had “little impact on the practices of the Amin regime” (612); in Bolivia many abuses “were overlooked” (614); the Uruguay TC was “not a serious undertaking of human rights” (616); the Zimbabwe report “has never been available to the public” (617); the Chilean report resulted in a formal apology by the President and many recommendations being implemented (622). Furthermore, the Chad TC may have been established “to improve the new president’s image” and suffered from lack of funds (624-625); the El Salvador TC resulted in general amnesty only five days after publication of its report (629); and the South African ANC II report denied any “systematic policy of abuse” (633). Read more

Challenges Facing Outside Actors in Balancing Punitive and Reconciliatory Measures in Nation/State-Building and the Optimum Division of Labor to Overcome Them

“Challenges Facing Outside Actors in Balancing Punitive and Reconciliatory Measures in Nation/State-Building and the Optimum Division of Labor to Overcome Them” by Kapok Tree Diplomacy


I.    Punitive and Reconciliatory Measures Available in Nation/State-Building

A.    Definitions

B.     Tasks of Nation/State Building (NSB)

C.     Punitive and Reconciliatory Measures Available in NSB Processes

1.     Military Security

2.     Political

3.     Economic

4.     Justice and Reconciliation

II.    Challenges Facing Outside Actors in Nation/State Building

A.    Military/Security Pillar – Challenges Facing IOs, Coalitions and MNFs, and  States

B.    Political and Governance Pillar – Challenges Facing IOs, Coalitions and MNFs, and States

C.    Economic Pillar – Challenges Facing IOs, Coalitions and MNFs, and States

D.    Justice and Reconciliation Pillar – Challenges Facing IOs, Coalitions and MNFs, and States

III.    Section Three – Optimum Division of Labor to Meet NSB Challenges

A.    Proper Mix – International, Regional, Local, Multilateral & Bilateral

B.    Military/Economic/Political Division of Labor

IV.    Summary

Section One – Punitive and Reconciliatory Measures Available in Nation/State-Building

DefinitionsNation-building and state-building are similar but not identical concepts with context often determining which term is applicable. Mary Thida Lun defines nation-building as “the indigenous and domestic creation and reinforcement of the complex social and cultural identities that relate to and define citizenship within the territory of the state” (v).   Read more

The Last Word on Justice: The Impact of the International Criminal Court On the Future of International Justice and its Rocky Road to Legitimacy

“The Last Word on Justice: The Impact of the International Criminal Court On the Future of International Justice and its Rocky Road to Legitimacy” by Kapok Tree Diplomacy

PREVIEW      Written in August 2010

Section One – History, Structure and Mandate of the ICC

Background.  The United States has supported bringing human rights violators to justice for many decades. After World War I, the Allies charged Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany in the Versailles Treaty with “a supreme offense against international morality and the sanctity of treaties,” a first in holding a head of state accountable for his actions (Feinstein & Lindberg 23). The Nuremberg and Far East tribunals affirmed “individual culpability for crimes against peace” following World War II by indicting several senior officials in a multinational setting (Fletcher 235).  The UN General Assembly subsequently charged the International Law Commission (ILC) in 1948 with drafting a statute for an international criminal court (Murphy 4). Read more

Challenges to Keeping the Peace in International Law

(C) Kapok Tree Diplomacy. August 2010. All rights reserved. By Jeff DwigginsInternational-Law flags

Introduction – FREE CONTENT

The need for a “fundamental institutional arrangement not only to address questions of war and peace and human rights but to develop legal norms in other areas, such as labor, health, and communications,” has enticed the vast majority of states to consent at some level to a growing and complex body of rules and norms designed to serve state interests by securing and furthering a peaceful, prosperous and stable society (Dunoff et. al. 16). Today these norms permeate the mission and operations of numerous international institutions like the United Nations, providing peaceful dispute resolution tools in such diverse areas as trade, military operations and human rights.

While most states desire to live in peace with one another and follow the fundamental norms of international law, a few states and some increasingly dangerous non-state actors like Al- Qaeda prefer to do whatever they want. In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, U.S. President Barack Obama added, “[the] old architecture is buckling under the weight of new threats … wars between nations have increasingly given way to wars within nations. The resurgence of ethnic or sectarian conflicts; the growth of secessionist movements, insurgencies, and failed states; have increasingly trapped civilians in unending chaos” (Obama 51).

This paper will examine what it means to “keep the peace” in an era of the globalization of world politics and unprecedented challenges and threats. The specific challenges to be addressed include nuclear proliferation, military conflict and terrorism, international trade and economic relations, diminishing natural resources, and humanitarian and human dignity issues. The paper will also examine whether existing international institutions and legal doctrines are likely to resolve the issue, and where are they likely to fall short?

The posts, views and opinions expressed in this post are completely my own and do not represent the views or opinions of the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of the Navy (DON) or any of the Armed Forces.

Section One – Nuclear Proliferation

Nuclear weapons are able to do far more than disable enemy combatants. They can destroy entire cities and obliterate entire human populations with one powerful blast.  The international community has developed two important treaties, The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), to limit proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), encourage disarmament, and preserve peaceful usage of nuclear energy (Dunoff et. al. 532-533).  Although these treaties have substantial ratifications, their effectiveness is severely limited by holdouts and compliance issues.   Read more

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