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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $21.55
  • March 2012
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-91936-3
  • 6.1 × 9.2 in / 352 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

The Justice Cascade

How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics

The Norton Series in World Politics


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Kathryn Sikkink (Author)


Acclaimed scholar Kathryn Sikkink examines the important and controversial new trend of holding political leaders criminally accountable for human rights violations.

Esteemed international relations scholar Kathryn Sikkink offers a landmark argument for human rights prosecutions as a powerful political tool. She shows how, in just three decades, state leaders in Latin America, Europe, and Africa have lost their immunity from any accountability for their human rights violations, becoming the subjects of highly publicized trials resulting in severe consequences. This shift is affecting the behavior of political leaders worldwide and may change the face of global politics as we know it.

Sikkink presents her groundbreaking quantitative research to analyze the effects this “justice cascade” has had on democracy, conflict, and repression and reveals what political and social conditions are and aren’t required for human rights trials to be effective. Engaging, analytical, and prescient, The Justice Cascade is a perfect book for international relations and human rights courses. 


Endorsements & Reviews

“Sikkink has written a wonderfully smart, thought-provoking new study of the global spread of criminal trials for horrific human rights abuses. This powerful book gives hope for the future of human rights.” — Gary Bass, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

“This marvelous book combines lucid reason with deep passion. Cascading through the nooks and crannies of international life, justice’s call is now heard loud and clear by those in power. The Justice Cascade will become an instantaneous classic that all students of international politics will read and refer to for years to come.” — Peter J. Katzenstein, Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies, Cornell University

The Justice Cascade is an immensely engaging account of a scholar’s own personal journey and of how to combine moral passion with systematic social scientific investigation.” — Robert O. Keohane, Professor of International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

    1. Introduction

    Part I - Creating Individual Accountability
    2. Navigating without a Map: Human Rights Trials in Southern Europe
    3. Argentina: From Pariah State to Global Protagonist

    Part II - Spreading Ideas about Individual Accountability
    Interlude: How and why does the Argentine experience spread?
    4. The Streams of the Justice Cascade

    Part III - Do Human Rights Prosecutions Make a Difference?

    5. The Effects of Human Rights Prosecutions in Latin America
    6. Global Deterrence and Human Rights Prosecutions
    7. Is the United States Immune to the Justice Cascade?

    Part IV - Conclusions
    8. Policy, Theory, and the Justice Cascade