Publications by Year: 2013

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Sikkink, Kathryn. 2013. “The United States and Torture: Does the Spiral Model Work?” The Persistent Power of Human Rights: From Commitment to Compliance, edited by Thomas Risse, Stephen C. Ropp, and Kathryn Sikkink, 145–63. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's Version
Changes in quality and availability of information related to human rights violations raise questions about how best to use existing data to assess human rights change. Information effects are discernible both in primary sources of information and data coded by two prominent human rights datasets, the Political Terror Scale (PTS) and the Cingranelli-Richards Human Rights Data Set (CIRI). The authors discuss ways that human rights information has changed for the better, evaluate the scales and their primary text sources for countries in Latin America, and compare them with information drawn from regional truth commission data. Extra caution is advised when using summary data to make inferences about human rights change.
Sikkink, Kathryn, and Hun Joon Kim. 2013. “The Justice Cascade: The Origins and Effectiveness of Prosecutions of Human Rights Violations.” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 9: 269–85. Publisher's Version 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.
Human Rights Prosecutions and the Participation Rights of Victims in Latin America
Michel, Veronica, and Kathryn Sikkink. 2013. “Human Rights Prosecutions and the Participation Rights of Victims in Latin America.” Law & Society Review 47 (4): 873–907. Publisher's Version Abstract
Since the 1980s, there has been a significant rise in domestic and international efforts to enforce individual criminal accountability for human rights violations through trials, but we still lack complete explanations for the emergence of this trend and the variation observed in the use of human rights prosecutions in the world. In this article, we examine the role that procedural law has had in allowing societal actors to influence in this rising trend for individual criminal accountability. We do this by focusing on participation rights granted to victims, such as private prosecution in criminal cases. Based on an exploration of an original database on human rights prosecutions in Latin America and fieldwork research in three countries, we argue that private prosecution is the key causal mechanism that allows societal actors to fight in domestic courts for individual criminal accountability for human rights violations.
The Persistent Power of Human Right.jpg
Risse, Thomas, Stephen C. Ropp, and Kathryn Sikkink, ed. 2013. The Persistent Power of Human Rights: From Commitment to Compliance. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. Publisher's Version