The Justice Cascade: The Origins and Effectiveness of Prosecutions of Human Rights Violations

Posted: 6 Nov 2013

See all articles by Kathryn Sikkink

Kathryn Sikkink

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Hun Joon Kim

Griffith University - Griffith Asia Institute

Date Written: November 2013

Abstract

The justice cascade refers to a new global trend of holding political leaders criminally accountable for past human rights violations through domestic and international prosecutions. In just three decades, state leaders have gone from being immune to accountability for their human rights violations to becoming the subjects of highly publicized trials in many countries of the world. New research suggests that such trials continue to expand and often result in convictions, including some of high-level state officials. This article summarizes research on the origins of the justice cascade and its effects on human rights practices around the world. It presents evidence that such prosecutions are affecting the behavior of political leaders worldwide and have the potential to help diminish human rights violations in the future.

Suggested Citation

Sikkink, Kathryn and Kim, Hun Joon, The Justice Cascade: The Origins and Effectiveness of Prosecutions of Human Rights Violations (November 2013). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 9, pp. 269-285, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2350726 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-102612-133956

Kathryn Sikkink (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Hun Joon Kim

Griffith University - Griffith Asia Institute ( email )

Queensland, 4111
Australia

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