• Moira Lynch
Part of the Human Rights Interventions book series (HURIIN)


This chapter poses the central research question of the book: what conditions shape the variable patterns of human rights prosecutions in democracies at war? The chapter evaluates relevant scholarship and it discusses the universe of cases, the book’s argument, data, and methodology and implications of the book’s findings. The book argues that human rights prosecutions in democracies at war were shaped by the extent to which agents of change, including citizens, human rights NGOs, and political actors, were able to challenge, alter, or eliminate the logic of impunity embedded in emergency and anti-terrorism laws. Challenges to these laws were possible through independent oversight of executive emergency powers, judicial review of emergency laws, judicial independence, and access to regional human rights courts.


  1. Agamben, Giorgio. 2005. State of Exception. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Apodaca, Clair. 2004. The Rule of Law and Human Rights. Judicature 87 (6): 292–299.Google Scholar
  3. Backer, David. 2009. Cross-National Comparative Analysis. In Assessing the Impact of Transitional Justice: Challenges for Empirical Research, ed. Audrey Chapman, Hugo van der Merwe, and Victoria Baxter. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press.Google Scholar
  4. Binningsbø, Helga Malmin, Jon Elster, and Scott Gates. 2005. Civil War and Transitional Justice: 1946–2003, A Dataset. Paper Prepared for Presentation at the ‘Transitional Justice and Civil War Settlements’ Workshop in Bogotá, Colombia, October 18–19.Google Scholar
  5. Capoccia, Giovanni, and R. Daniel Keleman. 2007. The Study of Critical Junctures: Theory, Narrative and Counterfactuals in Historical Institutionalism. World Politics 59 (3): 341–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. De Mesquita, Bueno, George W. Downs Bruce, Alastair Smith, and Feryal Marie Cherif. 2005. Thinking Inside the Box: A Closer Look at Democracy and Human Rights. International Studies Quarterly 49 (3): 439–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Domingo, Pilar. 1999. Judicial Independence and Judicial Reform in Latin America. In The Self-Restraining State: Power and Accountability in New Democracies, ed. Andreas Schedler, Larry Diamond, and Marc F. Plattner. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
  8. Fitzpatrick, Joan. 1994. Human Rights in Crisis: The International System for Protecting Rights During States of Emergency, Procedural Aspects of International Law Institute. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Grodsky, Brian. 2010. The Costs of Justice: How New Leaders Respond to Previous Rights Abuses. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  10. Gross, O. 2003. Chaos and Rules: Should Responses to Violent Crises Always Be Constitutional? Yale Law Review 112: 1011–1134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gross, Oren, and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin. 2006. Law in Times of Crisis: Emergency Powers in Theory and Practice. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hilbink, Lisa. 2012. The Origins of Positive Judicial Independence. World Politics 64 (4): 587–621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). 1966. 999 U.N.T.S. 171 and 1057 U.N.T.S. 407, New York, December 16, 1966, Entered into Force March 23, 1976 [the Provisions of Article 41 (Human Rights Committee) Entered into Force March 28, 1979]. Available: 17 June 2015.
  14. Interview with Padre Alberto Franco, Bogotá, Colombia, May 2015.Google Scholar
  15. Jacobs, Alan M. 2010. Policymaking as Political Constraint: Institutional Development in the U.S. Social Security Program. In Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power, ed. James Mahoney and Kathleen Thelen. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Kalshoven, Frits, and Liesbeth Zegveld. 2001. Constraints on the Waging of War: An Introduction to International Humanitarian Law. Geneva: International Committee for the Red Cross.Google Scholar
  17. Keith, Camp, C. Neal Tate Linda, and Steven C. Poe. 2009. Is the Law a Mere Parchment Barrier to Human Rights Abuse? The Journal of Politics 71 (2): 644–660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Krebs, Ronald R. 2009. In the Shadow of War: The Effects of Conflict on Liberal Democracy. International Organization 63: 177–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Loyle, C.E., and H.M. Binningsbø. 2016. Justice During Armed Conflict: A New Dataset on Government and Rebel Strategies. Journal of Conflict Resolution 49 (5): 1–25.Google Scholar
  20. Loyle, C.E., and C. Davenport. 2016. Transitional Injustice: Subverting Justice in Transition and Post-conflict Societies. Journal of Human Rights 15 (1): 126–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lynch, Moira Katherine. 2015. A Theory of Human Rights Prosecutions and Emergency Law: Bringing in Historical Institutionalism. Journal of Human Rights 14 (4): 504–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mahoney, James, and Kathleen Thelen. 2010. A Theory of Gradual Institutional Change. In Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power, ed. James Mahoney and Kathleen Thelen. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Marshall, Monty G., Ted Gurr, and Keith Jaggers. 2016. Polity IV Project. Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions, 1800–2016. Dataset Users’ Manuel. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  24. Nalepa, Monika. 2010. Skeletons in the Closet: Transitional Justice in Post-communist Europe. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Olsen, Tricia D., Leigh A. Payne, and Andrew G. Reiter. 2010. Transitional Justice in Balance: Comparing Processes, Weighing Efficacy. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press.Google Scholar
  26. Pettersson, Therése, and Peter Wallensteen. 2015. Armed Conflicts. Journal of Peace Research 52 (4): 1946–2014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pierson, Paul. 1996. The Path to European Integration: A Historical Institutionalist Approach. Comparative Political Studies 29 (2): 123–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Questiaux, N. 1982. Study of the Implications for Human Rights of Recent Developments Concerning Situations Known as States of Siege or Emergency. Commission on Human Rights, Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1982/15.Google Scholar
  29. Rossiter, Clinton. 1948. Constitutional Dictatorship: Crisis Government in the Modern Democracies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Russell, Peter. 2001. Toward a General Theory of Judicial Independence. In Judicial Independence in the Age of Democracy: Critical Perspectives from Around the World, ed. Peter Russell and David O’Brien. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.Google Scholar
  31. Scheuerman, William E. 2006. Emergency Powers. Annual Review of Law and Social Science 2: 257–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sikkink, Kathryn. 2011. The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc.Google Scholar
  33. Simmons, Beth. 2009. Mobilizing for Human Rights: International Law in Domestic Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Slater, Dan. 2010. Altering Authoritarianism: Institutional Complexity and Autocratic Agency in Indonesia. In Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power, ed. James Mahoney and Kathleen Thelen. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Uppsala Conflict Data Program. 2014. UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia. Uppsala University Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
  36. Zalaquett, Jose. 1995. Confronting Human Rights Violations Committed by Former Governments: Principles Applicable and Political Constraints. In Transitional Justice: How Emerging Democracies Reckon with Former Regimes, ed. Neil Kritz. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Moira Lynch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceLoyola University MarylandBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations