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This book trenchantly diagnoses the law's limits in making sense of mass atrocity.
Despite the growth in international criminal courts and tribunals, the majority of cases concerning international criminal law are prosecuted at the domestic level. This means that both international and domestic courts have to contend with a plethora of relevant, but often contradictory, judgments by international institutions and by other domestic courts. This book provides a detailed investigation into the impact this pluralism has had on international criminal law and procedure, and examines the key problems which arise from it. The work identifies the various interpretations of the concept of pluralism and discusses how it manifests in a broad range of aspects of international criminal law and practice. These include substantive jurisdiction, the definition of crimes, modes of individual criminal responsibility for international crimes, sentencing, fair trial rights, law of evidence, truth-finding, and challenges faced by both international and domestic courts in gathering, testing and evaluating evidence. Authored by leading practitioners and academics in the field, the book employs pluralism as a methodological tool to advance the debate beyond the classic view of 'legal pluralism' leading to a problematic fragmentation of the international legal order. It argues instead that pluralism is a fundamental and indispensable feature of international criminal law which permeates it on several levels: through multiple legal regimes and enforcement fora, diversified sources and interpretations of concepts, and numerous identities underpinning the law and practice. The book addresses the virtues and dangers of pluralism, reflecting on the need for, and prospects of, harmonization of international criminal law around a common grammar. It ultimately brings together the theories of legal pluralism, the comparative law discourse on legal transplants, harmonization, and convergence, and the international legal debate on fragmentation to show where pluralism and divergence will need to be accepted as regular, and even beneficial, features of international criminal justice.
In Making and Unmaking Nations, Scott Straus seeks to explain why and how genocide takes place—and, perhaps more important, how it has been avoided in places where it may have seemed likely or even inevitable. To solve that puzzle, he examines postcolonial Africa, analyzing countries in which genocide occurred and where it could have but did not. Why have there not been other Rwandas? Straus finds that deep-rooted ideologies—how leaders make their nations—shape strategies of violence and are central to what leads to or away from genocide. Other critical factors include the dynamics of war, the role of restraint, and the interaction between national and local actors in the staging of campaigns of large-scale violence. Grounded in Straus's extensive fieldwork in contemporary Africa, the study of major twentieth-century cases of genocide, and the literature on genocide and political violence, Making and Unmaking Nations centers on cogent analyses of three nongenocide cases (Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Senegal) and two in which genocide took place (Rwanda and Sudan). Straus’s empirical analysis is based in part on an original database of presidential speeches from 1960 to 2005. The book also includes a broad-gauge analysis of all major cases of large-scale violence in Africa since decolonization. Straus’s insights into the causes of genocide will inform the study of political violence as well as giving policymakers and nongovernmental organizations valuable tools for the future.
Within sociology and criminology the dominant view is that genocide and other mass atrocities are committed by technologically-lobotomized perpetrators. Somehow the process of rationalization is believed to have transformed these people from emotionally healthy people into hollow soulless shells of human beings or zombies, devoid of a full range of normal emotions. However it is difficult to imagine crime without emotions, There is, therefore, a need to revisit existing assumptions around the role of emotions in mass atrocities. This book rehumanizes perpetrators of mass atrocities.
In the twenty-first century, fighting impunity has become both the rallying cry and a metric of progress for human rights. The new emphasis on criminal prosecution represents a fundamental change in the positions and priorities of students and practitioners of human rights and transitional justice: it has become near-unquestionable common sense that criminal punishment is a legal, political, and pragmatic imperative for addressing human rights violations. This book challenges that common sense. It does so through careful research and critical analysis that trends toward an anti-impunity norm in a variety of institutional and geographical contexts, with an eye toward the interaction among practices at the global and local levels. Altogether the authors demonstrate how this laser focus on anti-impunity has created blind spots in practice and in scholarship that result in a constricted response to human rights violations, a narrowed conception of justice, and an impoverished approach to peace.
This book examines the relationship between risk and resilience in the prevention of mass atrocities. It challenges approaches to prevention which prioritise the role of external actors by investigating how local and national actors mitigate risk over time.
This book offers a novel and productive explanation of why 'ordinary' people can be moved to engage in destructive mass violence (or terrorism and the abuse of rights), often in large numbers and in unexpected ways. Its argument is that narratives of insecurity (powerful horror stories people tell and believe about their world and others) can easily make extreme acts appear acceptable, even necessary and heroic. As in action or horror movies, the script dictates how the 'hero' acts. The book provides theoretical justifications for this analysis, building on earlier studies but going beyond them in what amount to a breakthrough in mapping the context of mass violence. It backs its argument with a large number of case studies covering four continents, written by prominent scholars from the relevant countries or with deep knowledge of them. A substantial introduction by the UN's Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide demonstrates the policy relevance of this path-breaking work.

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