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The Legacy of Crimes and Crises

Transitional Justice, Domestic Change and the Role of the International Community


Klaus Bachmann and Dorota Heidrich

The book shows how transitional justice experiences influence domestic change and what the role of the international community in these processes is. It is divided into three thematic parts. The first one presents regional and local transitional justice efforts, aiming at showing different mechanisms implemented within transitional justice mechanisms. The following part deals with the role and impact of international criminal tribunals set up to prosecute grave human rights abuses. The third part is devoted to the role of the international community in mass atrocity crimes prevention. The contributions prove that transitional justice measures are not universal. Rather, they must be characterized by the principle of local ownership and be crafted to circumstances on the ground.
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Dorota Heidrich - Responsibility to Protect – a Tool for Atrocity Crimes Prevention?


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Dorota Heidrich

Responsibility to Protect – An (In)effective Tool for Atrocity Crimes Prevention?

One of the most significant challenges for the international community in over two decades with regard to Human Rights protection and humanitarian issues has been mass atrocity crimes prevention. It is to this purpose that the concept of “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) was devised.1 It is rooted in the endeavours to find the right way of reacting to heinous international crimes and – more generally – systematic abuses of Human Rights both in times of peace and during violent conflicts. The issue became especially important after the numerous failures of the international community to avert and halt horrific events in a series of crises around the world during 1990s. There is a stark contrast between the reluctance of the international community to take action in Rwanda 1994 and Srebrenica 1995 on the one hand, and the intervention in Kosovo 1999 and Libya 2011. In all these cases, there was no clear pattern which would have allowed to reconcile the principle of sovereignty with the protection of civilians. As Kofi Annan put it: “If humanitarian intervention is, indeed, an unacceptable assault on sovereignty, how should we respond to a Rwanda, to a Srebrenica – to gross and systematic violations of Human Rights that offend every precept of our common humanity?”2 In its report of 2000, the International Independent Commission on Kosovo left no doubts that “experience from the NATO intervention in Kosovo suggests...

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