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Lecture 1 Notes

by: Allison Notetaker

Lecture 1 Notes HRTS 3212

Allison Notetaker

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What Are Human Rights? - Ratifying Treaties -Soft, Hard, Custom Law
Comparative Perspectives on Human Rights
Shareen Hertel
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Allison Notetaker on Thursday September 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HRTS 3212 at University of Connecticut taught by Shareen Hertel in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views. For similar materials see Comparative Perspectives on Human Rights in Human Rights at University of Connecticut.

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Date Created: 09/22/16
HR Regime: General Concepts- Part II Humanitarian Law and Criminal Law  *Humanitarian law: has historically dealt with the protection of rights in times of war, beginning with the Geneva Conventions (1864; 1949), which protect: 1. Wounded/sick combatants 2. Prisoners of war 3. Civilians in times of war  International criminal law: challenge of enforcement in absence of an international “police” force HISTORY - UN Charter (1955), article 55, 56: first international treaty to explicitly mention human rights o mentions but does not define or specify types of rights to be protected, promoted - Chapter VII of UN Charter specifies UN’s role in addressing “threats to international peace and security” o Bombs, zika, etc. - Nuremberg Charter (1945): established the concept of “crimes against humanity” o World War II plays a big role - Was the precursor to the Genocide Convention (1948): made individuals responsible for prosecution if they try to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group - Rise of transitions to democracy (i.e. late 1980’s) and inter-ethnic conflicts in the wake of the Cold War (i.e. 1990’s) SECURITY COUNCIL: - Authorized under the UN Charter to create judicial institutions as needed for promotion of peace and security o They’re not perfect, and there’s huge discussions of effectiveness of them o However, they’ve been set up to promote such things - GOAL: prosecute individuals who pose a “threat to international peace and security” KEY INSTITUTIONS - Truth Commissions (created from 1980’s to present) o Nationally recognized institutions for peace and security institutions o Created at national levels o Non-traditionary - International Criminal Tribunals for: o Formal Yugoslavia (ICTY o Rwanda (ICTR) o They will try individuals and groups that fit the bill of disturbances o So it takes a while for them to find something HR Regime: General Concepts- Part II o “Special courts” for: (UN pays for trials of courts)  Sierra Leone  East Timor  Kosovo  Cambodia  Iraqi trial of Saddam Hussein International Criminal Court (ICC) (**** this is not part of the UN system) - SEPARATE INSTITUTION - States sign and ratify the “Rome Statute” (1998) (Drafted in wake of WWII) to join the ICC; 100 members to date - Prosecutes INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE for the following: (narrow set of crimes at narrow time) o Crimes against humanity, genocide, serious war crime o Crimes that occurred within the territory of a State Party/member country o Crimes that were committed by a national of a State Party/ member country, wherever the crime took place  We don’t just rush to the ICC when something happens, we rely on the laws of the countries themselves, and we first go to The Court of Last Resort  This is a court to go to during times of war at the very end  US isn’t a member- have the largest military on earth, very reluctant to join - Key definitions: o *Genocide: intent (whether you do it or not) to destroy, in whole or part (all of the group, e.g. all Jews, or part of a group, e.g. just castrating the men of Jews), members of a national, ethnic, religious, or racial group o Crimes Against Humanity: widespread systematic attacks; not random; include rape, murder, torture  Especially see this kind of crime a tool for terrorizing a group o War Crimes: grave breaches of Geneva Convention  GC: laws that cover in times of war  All of our soldiers are bound by the GC o Crimes of Aggression: “aggressive war” (definition still under debate)  Be aware, and know that things will less likely be prosecuted as this KEY PRINCIPLES - Court of last resort: only when national criminal justice systems are unwilling or unable to act would the ICC take up those cases - Based on the principal of complementarity (compliments the laws of that country) - Can only prosecute crimes committed AFTER July 2002 (date when ICC began operation) HR Regime: General Concepts- Part II - Emergency cases can be referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE - The pursuit of accountability for mass atrocities or former human rights abuse - Linked to quest for institutional reform of the past- and prevent future abuses o Because we consider ourselves a democracy, they see no need for truth commissions - Integral to the transition from authoritarianism to democracy o This transitional justice is no easy job, since many people will have to face those who have done horrible things. This way, it’s a huge balance with retribution and peace CHALLENGES - Balancing peace with justice, and stability with punishment (Forsythe 2006:98) - Rejecting *impunity (i.e. rejecting freedom from punishment) - Balancing truth-telling with prosecution - Working out the process of reconciliation- it is a process, and cannot be simply “decreed” - Balancing SC Council’s mandate with states’ jealous safeguard of sovereignty


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