CHRCR has compiled a preliminary list of resources which examine the intersection between theories of and approaches to human rights and conflict resolution. We welcome the suggestion of articles, reports, books and other publications that should be added to the list.
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Anonymous, "Human Rights in Peace Negotiations" 18(2) Human Rights Quarterly (1996).
The agendas of human rights advocates, or fact-finders, can oftentimes come into direct collision with the aims of conflict resolvers, or peace negotiators. The case of the former Yugoslavia presents a powerful illustration of this kind of collision, where certain agents are calling for justice and the punishment of human rights abusers, while other agents are attempting to bring a halt to the blood-shed by making peace with those same abusers. While the author does not argue that the roles of fact-finders and peace negotiators inevitably collide, it is essential that fact-finders understand what their jobs do involve, such as investigation, reporting, and policy-making, and what they do not involve, including being an integral part of the actual peace negotiations.
Christine Bell, "Peace Agreements And Human Rights" (2000).
This volume illuminates thinking at three levels: (1) It provides clear analysis of the role of human rights in peace agreements, including examining the assumptions that put human rights into an agreement and the factors that shape the provisions chosen.; (2) It informs consideration of the relationship between international human rights law and protracted social conflict, through the lens of peace agreements.; and (3) It provides a context from which to consider the relationship between justice and peace more generally, and to draw some conclusions about the role of international law in peacemaking.
Lynn Berat, "Prosecuting Human Rights Violations from a Predecessor Regime: Guidelines for a Transformed South Africa." 13 Boston College Third World Law Journal 199 (1993).
Arguing in line with democratic peace theory, the author asserts that the legitimacy of nation-building projects and democracy hinges on the degree to which predecessor regimes are held accountable for past human rights abuses. Though such prosecution may well be problematic in the pursuit of peace, it is a necessary staple of legitimate democracy. This analysis proceeds by examining the impact of amnesties on the negotiations for a new democratic government in South Africa.
M. Freeman, "National Self-determination, Peace and Human Rights" , 10 Peace Review 157 (1998).
Freeman outlines his prescription for what ails many states in the post-Cold War world. He sees the triumvirate principles of territorial integrity of states, self-determination of peoples, and human rights as inherently at conflict. This, as the status quo, he argues is not tenable, as it is inherently conflicted. He evaluates the range of solutions offered by political theorists and international relations scholars. Without a direct solution to the problem himself, Freeman underlines the point that self-determination is not equivalent to secession, and that in some cases nations can determine their destiny without becoming independent states.
Felice Gaer, "Reflections on Human Rights Abuses" , 19(1) Human Rights Quarterly (1997).
In this response to a previous article in HRQ which attacked the interference of human rights advocates in peace negotiations in the former Yugoslavia, the author asserts that difficulties in the peace negotiations were in fact due to the lack of credibility of the negotiators, as well as a lack of more cooperative action between the negotiators and fact-finders. The author writes, "Anonymous, through his criticism of the 'moralists' highlights the urgent need for negotiators to work with the human rights community to develop new, better strategies to address complex, often inconvenient realities and to uphold fundamental principles in their negotiations. How well they do this affects not only the outcome of the negotiations, but often the credibility of the governments and international organizations they represent."
, "Exposing Human Rights Abuses. A Help or a Hindrance to Reconciliation?" 22 Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 607 (1996).
A member of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the author explains that while the justice-peace dilemma has been common to a number of countries spanning the second half of the twentieth century, including Denmark, Australia, South Africa, and Chile, resolution of these problems is usually a function of a very specific calculation of political and economic interests within a given country. Though the author believes in the importance of amnesties and immunities for reconciliation, he insists that justice must be given its ultimate due. "Justice is very much a part of the peace process. It will often be spurned and avoided by political leaders who were themselves guilty in the past. However, it is in the interests of international peace that crimes against humanity are properly investigated and punished."
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, "Human Rights and Conflict Resolution: Contradictory or Complimentary".
When asking whether it is better to pardon or punish in the interests of peace and justice, it is undeniable that decisions will be complex and vulnerable to political dynamics. The dispositive issue, however, should be the need punish serious human rights abusers. Punishment is far more than a vulgar manifestation of revenge or retaliation, but signifies the force and coherence of the rule of law. Additionally, from a purely practical perspective, nothing less than justice can ever effect the goals of peace - peace cannot be sustained in an environment where the abused have not felt that their wrongs have gone unaddressed.
Juan Mendez, "Accountability for Past Abuses" 19(2) Human Rights Quarterly (1997).
(H) In the pursuit of bringing violators of human rights to justice, it is important to understand the multi-dimensionality of the "accountability problem." It is a mistake for human rights advocates to get locked into a "moralist" position rhetorically immune to legal and political dimensions that additionally constitute the accountability problem. However, an advocate of accountability need not sacrifice her ethical motives in the pursuit peace, particularly when capable of avoiding false dilemmas. These misconceptions include a belief that there are no rules governing what states must do in response to massive violations that have recently occurred, a belief that truth is always preferable to justice, and a belief that criminal prosecutions are inherently injurious to peace and reconciliation.
Carlo Nino, "The Duty to Punish Past Abuses of Human Rights Put Into Context: The Case of Argentina" . The Yale Law Journal, 100:2619. (1991).
The duty to punish past abusers of human rights, especially for governments dealing with the behavior of predecessor governments, is heavily informed by the details of the facts in each case. Additionally, the duty to punish is itself vulnerable to a number of philosophical criticisms, ranging from the senselessness of knee-jerk mandatory retribution to disagreements about individual rights and collective goals. This duty to punish should therefore be highly conditioned on particulars and not be subject to some universal rule of punishment. This article takes this ad-hoc approach, examining the Argentine case as an illustration in the complicated work of punishment and justice.
Robert Rothberg & Dennis Thompson, Eds., "Truth V. Justice" (2000).
This edited volume pulls together a number of pieces fleshing out the problems inherently housed in the possibly contradictory norms of truth, justice, and reconciliation espoused by truth commissions. The volume includes articles by, among others, Amy Guttman and Dennis Thompson (The Moral Foundations of Truth Commissions), Alex Boraine (Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa), and Martha Minow (The Hope for Healing: What Can Truth Commissions Do?).