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The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics

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Grawemeyer Award winner Kathryn Sikkink offers a landmark argument for human rights prosecutions as a powerful political tool. She shows how, in just three decades, state leaders in Latin America, Europe, and Africa have lost their immunity from any accountability for their human rights violations, becoming the subjects of highly publicized trials resulting in severe conse Grawemeyer Award winner Kathryn Sikkink offers a landmark argument for human rights prosecutions as a powerful political tool. She shows how, in just three decades, state leaders in Latin America, Europe, and Africa have lost their immunity from any accountability for their human rights violations, becoming the subjects of highly publicized trials resulting in severe consequences. This shift is affecting the behavior of political leaders worldwide and may change the face of global politics as we know it. Drawing on extensive research and illuminating personal experience, Sikkink reveals how the stunning emergence of human rights prosecutions has come about; what effect it has had on democracy, conflict, and repression; and what it means for leaders and citizens everywhere, from Uruguay to the United States. The Justice Cascade is a vital read for anyone interested in the future of world politics and human rights.


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Grawemeyer Award winner Kathryn Sikkink offers a landmark argument for human rights prosecutions as a powerful political tool. She shows how, in just three decades, state leaders in Latin America, Europe, and Africa have lost their immunity from any accountability for their human rights violations, becoming the subjects of highly publicized trials resulting in severe conse Grawemeyer Award winner Kathryn Sikkink offers a landmark argument for human rights prosecutions as a powerful political tool. She shows how, in just three decades, state leaders in Latin America, Europe, and Africa have lost their immunity from any accountability for their human rights violations, becoming the subjects of highly publicized trials resulting in severe consequences. This shift is affecting the behavior of political leaders worldwide and may change the face of global politics as we know it. Drawing on extensive research and illuminating personal experience, Sikkink reveals how the stunning emergence of human rights prosecutions has come about; what effect it has had on democracy, conflict, and repression; and what it means for leaders and citizens everywhere, from Uruguay to the United States. The Justice Cascade is a vital read for anyone interested in the future of world politics and human rights.

30 review for The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I read this one for academic reasons, but it's actually quite readable if you're interested in human rights. It's a good overview of the history and evolution of human rights prosecutions, even if she emphasizes Argentina in a bit more than is probably warranted. I read this one for academic reasons, but it's actually quite readable if you're interested in human rights. It's a good overview of the history and evolution of human rights prosecutions, even if she emphasizes Argentina in a bit more than is probably warranted.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    An excellent text, written from a constructivist perspective on the historical inevitability and need for prosecuting human rights abuses. The author also conducts an area studies comparison of the regional impact of human rights and war crimes prosecutions by national and international courts in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa, and even the influence it is having (and will continue to have) on reticent countries like the United States. There are also examples used from existing criminal cou An excellent text, written from a constructivist perspective on the historical inevitability and need for prosecuting human rights abuses. The author also conducts an area studies comparison of the regional impact of human rights and war crimes prosecutions by national and international courts in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa, and even the influence it is having (and will continue to have) on reticent countries like the United States. There are also examples used from existing criminal courts, including the International Criminal Court, the international community's first permanent war crimes court. The author concludes with a summary of theoretical and practical observations about prosecuting human rights abuses. Overall, this is a very good primer on human rights in international relations and a highly recommended read for students of international law.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Great book for those who are interested in how the idea of individual accountability for state officials came about in the context of humanitarian crimes. This book is more academic in tone, so it's for those who want to go deep into the subject (I read it for a seminar), but it is also peppered with powerful anecdotes along the way. Sikkink addresses some of the most important questions in the sphere of human rights and accountability (i.e. Do prosecutions help or hurt human rights? Do prosecut Great book for those who are interested in how the idea of individual accountability for state officials came about in the context of humanitarian crimes. This book is more academic in tone, so it's for those who want to go deep into the subject (I read it for a seminar), but it is also peppered with powerful anecdotes along the way. Sikkink addresses some of the most important questions in the sphere of human rights and accountability (i.e. Do prosecutions help or hurt human rights? Do prosecutions lead to political instability? etc.) and backs up her statements with some fairly compelling data. The chapter on U.S. resistance to the justice cascade is particularly thought-provoking. I'm a big Sikkink fan and this is a great read for those who are interested in this topic.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    I was really impressed with this book's combination of statistical evidence-based analysis, historical research, and personal/philosophical stories. It helps that I'm very strongly in favor of human rights prosecutions and knew the backstory of many of the cases she included. In particular, though, the use of hard data to back up a lot of the theories on the effects of prosecutions of heads of state made this book stand out as opposed to just an opinionated academic treatise on why trials are go I was really impressed with this book's combination of statistical evidence-based analysis, historical research, and personal/philosophical stories. It helps that I'm very strongly in favor of human rights prosecutions and knew the backstory of many of the cases she included. In particular, though, the use of hard data to back up a lot of the theories on the effects of prosecutions of heads of state made this book stand out as opposed to just an opinionated academic treatise on why trials are good (or bad). Also the fact that she then went on to look at the relevance for powerful countries rounded out the discussion well.

  5. 5 out of 5

    hoffnarr

    Critics of human rights discourse and new approaches to the history of human rights will probably see this work as an example of the kind of optimistic picture that they are working to deconstruct but from a normative perspective, the term "justice cascade" is useful as a tool and approach. The trick will be to combine this with some of the lessons of the critical scholarship. Critics of human rights discourse and new approaches to the history of human rights will probably see this work as an example of the kind of optimistic picture that they are working to deconstruct but from a normative perspective, the term "justice cascade" is useful as a tool and approach. The trick will be to combine this with some of the lessons of the critical scholarship.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mariam

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mark Schrad

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  9. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katrina Becker

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael J Becker

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katie Culhane

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dave Benger

  14. 4 out of 5

    Camille Cooley

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alida Thomas

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  17. 5 out of 5

    David

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rustin Armknecht

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mayrose Gravalec-pannone

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tim Tolka

  21. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ashwath

  23. 4 out of 5

    Zuleika

  24. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eilev Hegstad

  26. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  27. 4 out of 5

    Will Featherston

  28. 5 out of 5

    hazelwillow

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hill Krishnan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Moira

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