Towards the Criminalization of Dictatorship: A Draft Proposal for an International Convention on Dictatorship
36 Pages Posted: 24 May 2009
Date Written: May 23, 2009
The international community has taken note of and, to some extent, addressed the excesses and human rights violations of dictators and totalitarian governments over the past half-century. To this end, conventions addressing civil and political rights have become an integral part of the law of international human rights. Although these conventions and covenants address the existence of such rights, and in some cases offer avenues of inquiry to ensure that they are realized, in the wake of wide-spread and systematic violations in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe scholars and diplomats alike are beginning to call for a solution that will address the root of such violations: the form of government that perpetrates them. Calls to criminalize dictatorship have begun in academia as well as in the envoys to the United Nations. This paper represents the first prolonged treatment of the issue within the academy. Addressing first the possibility of criminalizing dictatorship under prevailing definitions of international crime, I reach the conclusion that such an attempt would be inefficacious and less definitive than other available action. Having reached this conclusion, the remainder of the paper focuses on the need for an international convention dealing with this subject matter and draft proposals for the necessary substantive articles. After each proposal potential United States objections to the specific article are addressed and, in most cases, discounted as unfounded. Although this paper represents only the first step down the road to international action, its success may be found in establishing a foundation on which further debate can build.
Keywords: international law, human rights law, international criminal law
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