Jeremy Julian Sarkin
This chapter focuses on the, so far neglected, role of truth commissions in amnesty processes. It first examines what amnesties and truth commissions are and explores how past amnesties affect the work of truth commissions in various countries. Subsequently, it discusses the amnesty process in South Africa, as the South African truth commission has been the only one with the power to directly grant amnesty. The chapter then explores truth commissions in a number of other countries to understand how the fact that these bodies only had the power to recommend amnesty affected their role in their quest to deal with the past. Generally, truth commissions have not dealt separately with atrocity crimes versus less serious ones. The debates about whether states have duties to investigate and prosecute atrocity crimes are outlined, and existing (empirical) research on truth commissions and amnesties is summarized. The chapter concludes with recommendations for future research.
To gain insight into the power dynamics of atrocities, one needs to examine (i) how and why atrocities become functional to potential entrepreneurs of violence, as well as (ii) the formal and informal alliances that help execute and sustain the violence, and (iii) the frames through which violence becomes socially meaningful and justified. These three components underlie the analytical frameworks addressed in this chapter on the making of atrocities. In settings of instability, atrocity crimes are instrumentally orchestrated by violent entrepreneurs to renew and/or harden boundaries between civilian populations as a means to gain or attain power. Although these (aspiring) leaderships are crucial drivers, they depend on alliances and relationships of exchange with local actors for the execution and organization of violence. However, an analysis of atrocities which only looks at the functionality of violence is unlikely to be convincing. Large-scale violence needs to be imagined and legitimized in order to be carried out. This occurs through the repeated rehearsal of violent imaginaries from the past which sanction violence against the ‘enemy-other’ as necessary and legitimate.
Atrocity Crimes and Ecocide: Interrelations between Armed Conflict, Violence, and Harm to the Environment
Daan P. van Uhm
This chapter focuses on the interrelationship between atrocity crimes and anthropogenic environmental degradation. The environment as cause, tool, and victim of armed conflict will be discussed and the interpretation of the environment in the context of the three categories of mass atrocity crimes under the Rome Statute—genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes—will be analyzed. Because of the limitations of international criminal law in relation to protecting the environment, it will be argued that recognizing ecocide as a core international crime may prevent humanity from consequent atrocities as well as protect the environment from being damaged.
Mark A. Drumbl
This chapter posits that conceptual and experiential differences arise (and abound) between atrocity crime and ordinary common crime. Atrocity crime, in particular discrimination-based campaigns, tends to be collective in nature, thereby presenting the violence as individuals conforming to a wretched social norm. Ordinary common crime tends more to individual acts of deviance and transgression. Atrocity crimes are often crimes of hate and crimes of the state or state-like organization. This chapter argues that the international community is prosecuting atrocity crimes without first having developed a thorough criminology of mass violence, a suitable penology for perpetrators, or a thoughtful victimology for those aggrieved.
Gabrielle Ferrales and Suzy Maves McElrath
Gender-based violence is one of the oldest sustaining features of war but has received significant scholarly attention only in the past two decades. Much of this work, however, focuses selectively on sexual violence, specifically rape by men against women. Mirroring the focus of recent social science research, this essay reviews the treatment of gender-based violence during recent and ongoing conflicts, identifying three theoretical paradigms that offer explanations for this violence based on gender inequality theory, social control theory, and strategies of warfare. The essay recommends that future researchers employ a more expansive conception of gender-based violence, deconstruct the dichotomous understanding of victim and perpetrator, and afford greater attention to the role of intersectionality in explaining gender-based violence during war. Such a reconceptualization will advance our understanding of the multitude forms gender-based violence assumes during armed conflict and facilitate more adequate theoretical explanations for the phenomenon.
Sara K. Thompson
Most criminological theory and research on the black homicide victimization is grounded in the American context, which raises important generalizability issues given the exceptional level of lethal violence that is used as the standard in this inquiry. This case study examines the social and spatial distribution of black homicide victimization in Toronto, Ontario, Canada between 1988 and 2003. Results suggest that, as in American cities, blacks in Toronto are over-represented as homicide victims and offenders, but there are important differences in the spatial distribution and ecological correlates of this violence. These findings highlight the importance of cross-national research when investigating the generalizability of findings from U.S.-based research on racially disaggregated homicide rates.
Kathleen Malley-Morrison and Denise A. Hines
This article summarizes current knowledge concerning child abuse in the United States. It discusses major approaches to assess the incidence and prevalence of child abuse, including the national family violence surveys (NFVS), national incidence studies (NIS), and national child abuse and neglect data system (NCANDS) surveys. It mentions the estimates of abuse rates provided by the different data sources, apparent changes in prevalence rates over time, and possible explanations of these changes. This article considers ethnic differences in rates of child abuse and data relating to these differences. It provides an overview of competing definitions of child abuse and the major theories for its occurrence. It concludes with the description of the criminal justice system's response to the problem and implications of research for public policy.
Myriam Denov and Anaïs Cadieux Van Vliet
This chapter explores the complex phenomenon of child soldiers—in theory and in practice. The chapter begins by outlining the international legal instruments aimed at preventing the use of children in armed conflict, as well as summarizing global estimates of the issue. The rights violations faced by children involved in armed conflict are addressed, with a particular focus on girls, who are often overlooked. The chapter then provides an overview of the depictions of child soldiers in popular media, highlighting how iconography may contribute to the shaping of policy and programming. The chapter discusses the tensions and paradoxes associated with the translation of formal legal commitments into practice. It concludes with a discussion of areas for future policy and research.
Richard Wright and Volkan Topalli
People who commit burglary, robbery, carjacking, and other serious predatory street crimes are disproportionately young, poor, and male. Notwithstanding the strong link between these demographic characteristics and street crime, not all young, poor, males commit street crimes and not all street criminals are young, poor, or male. No one can tell based on demographic information on criminals why an individual who has no intention of committing a crime one minute suddenly is determined to do so the next. This article describes the socio-emotional context underlying street criminals' decision to move from an unmotivated state to a motivated one. It also examines why someone chooses to commit a particular type of street crime over other possible licit or illicit courses of action. The article concludes by assessing the implications of its findings for criminological theory and criminal justice policy.
Scott H. Decker and David Pyrooz
Until the middle of the twentieth century, research on gangs was ethnographic in nature, with a strong journalistic approach. However, there has been a shift in the ethnographic study of gangs from serious fieldwork in America to the European setting. This article focuses on the state of contemporary gang ethnography by analyzing three periods of ethnographic research on gangs: the classic era, the “interstitial” period, and the contemporary period. It traces the evolution of the ethnographic approach to the study of youth behavior in the United States over the past century. It also looks at the interstitial period to provide a contrast to the state of gang ethnography in Europe.
This article discusses key methodological issues that are germane to understanding some of the parameters for developing a sound knowledge base on temporal crime patterns. It then surveys the landscape of what we currently know, focusing initially on the description and explanation of crime trends in the United States and elsewhere through the late 1950s, then addressing comparable themes since that time, which are labeled as the “contemporary period”. The concluding section outlines directions for future research.
Thijs B. Bouwknegt and Tadesse Simie Metekia
Ethiopia has experienced a gamut of mass atrocity violence over the last century. Colonial, political, and ethnic violence have been cyclical phenomena and have often escalated into mass atrocity crimes against civilians. By exhibiting a historical synopsis of mass atrocity violence in Ethiopia since 1935, this chapter demonstrates how the expression crimes against humanity can be operationalized to perceive, understand, and explain mass atrocity violence in diverse temporal, political, and socioeconomic contexts. Additionally, the chapter narrates an Ethiopian genealogy of transitional justice. The chapter concludes that crimes against humanity—as a judicial, scholarly, and historical framework—captures best the dynamics and nature of mass atrocity violence in Ethiopia. Simultaneously, we observe that Ethiopia has been spearheading trends in international law and transitional justice, but has done so on its own terms.
Jess Melvin and Annie Pohlman
This chapter provides a case study of crimes against humanity committed in Indonesia in 1965–1966. In October 1965, the Indonesian military took over the government and mobilized national and religious militias to assist in wiping out the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). Up to one million people were killed, and a further one-and-a-half million were rounded up and held in detention camps for their alleged Communist affiliations. The military-led government fell in 1998, and in the two decades since, there has been little political will to investigate or redress the crimes committed in 1965–66, or the other cases of state-led atrocities by Indonesia’s military. In 2012, the Indonesian National Commission for Human Rights released a landmark report into atrocity crimes perpetrated during the 1965–66 period, finding strong evidence of crimes against humanity, the results of which are outlined in this chapter. This report has been buried, just as Indonesia’s government is determined to bury the past.
Joanna R. Quinn
One approach to dealing with conflict and atrocity has been the use of traditional or customary practices. Such practices are well beyond the scope of most discussions of transitional justice and other post-conflict rebuilding scenarios, which tend to include now-standard practices like truth commissions, trials, and compensation. Yet the literature shows that customary practices are often used after atrocity to help with the rebuilding process. This chapter first argues that their use mimics many of the other practices of transitional justice; and second, it considers the modalities by which such practices could be used in dealing with atrocity crimes.
A lot of research has been done on the relationship between regime type and mass atrocities and other human rights violations. The field has been hampered, however, by the diverse definitions that are employed for these violations and because of the lack of interaction between qualitative and quantitative strands of scholarship. This chapter takes a first step to remedy these difficulties. It will provide an overview of the most prominent empirical research on the relationship between the regime type and the prevalence of atrocities and will reflect on the consensus among scholars that established democracies are least likely to perpetrate mass atrocities. Subsequently, the most commonly used explanations for this finding are set out. In order to understand further why dictatorial regimes are more likely to perpetrate mass atrocities, a qualitative analysis is put forward that links the regime type to other known risk factors for mass atrocities.
This contribution focuses on the organized, corporate, and bureaucratic nature of atrocity crimes and the “atrocious organization,” where atrocities have become an established part of organizational goals, strategies, routines, and managerial performance. Typically, these crimes include mass detention, torture, disappearances, and killings. Police and security forces are main actors in a network of atrocious organizations that includes military and paramilitary units. Three processes are decisive in the transformation from ordinary to atrocious organizations: politicization, including ethno-politicization; de-professionalization; and militarization. Atrocious organizations pose extraordinary challenges for intervention, prevention, and justice. Evidence from the Holocaust to the former Yugoslavia, to countries in Latin America and Asia is used to identify common characteristics of atrocious organizations and their crimes. Lists, files, and records left by their bureaucracies and documents from judicial records allow for the reconstruction of the functioning of the organizational context and apparatus of atrocity, and the emergence of atrocious organizations in this process.
Denise A. Hines
This article presents data on the prevalence of domestic violence and trends over time. It discusses five major analytical frameworks that have been employed to understand domestic violence: patriarchy theory, systems theory, alcoholism, personality dysfunction, and ecological models. It further mentions criminal justice system policies such as mandatory arrest, no-drop policies, protective orders, and batterer treatment programs. This article deals with female batterers and distinctive problems they raise for law enforcement and treatment policies. It is also concerned with how societal structures, socioeconomic status, stressful situations, and family dynamics contribute to domestic violence. Programs that focus on psychological issues, anger problems, communication problems, and couple interaction problems are often ignored by domestic violence advocates and prohibited by state laws. Finally, it concludes with the discussion of the policy implications of current knowledge.
Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig
This article begins by characterizing the nature and scope of the gun violence problem, including a discussion of the potential benefit from use of guns in self-defense. The next section is devoted to a discussion of guns and it gives some basic facts on the patterns of private gun ownership and gun misuse. The article then discusses policies designed to discourage gun misuse directly by making guns a liability to criminals. Studies using a same basic research design have found evidence of some decline in gun use in crime. The article shows the importance of assessing the effects of overall rates of gun ownership within a community. The descriptive and analytical information summarized here opens the door to favorable consideration of a variety of other interventions.
Victoria Colvin and Phil Orchard
Over the past twenty years, there has been a growth in international mechanisms to protect forced migrants who are victims of atrocity crimes. Within international criminal law, forced deportations and forcible transfers have been defined as potentially constituting both crimes against humanity and war crimes, while some forms of transfers (such as the transferring of children) may also constitute genocide. While the Refugee Convention is silent on this question, emerging soft and regional law around the issue of internal displacement has clearly defined a right not to be arbitrarily displaced and, in the Kampala Convention, African states have accepted an obligation to protect IDPs from such acts. Finally, there is a clear linkage between forced displacement and the four atrocity crimes in the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine, including through ethnic cleansing and genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. These represent important steps forward to ensure that forced migrants can be protected from atrocities.
Violence involving intimate partners may appear at first glance to be an intractable problem. But the character and incidence of intimate-partner violence have varied dramatically among societies and over time in ways that can help scholars, policymakers, and the public understand the circumstances that place intimate partners at risk. Intimate-partner violence can be triggered by government policies that are designed to encourage freedom, equality, and prosperity if officials are blind to the impact of those policies on gender relations. Intimate-partner violence can also be increased by the devastation and demoralization of conquered communities or concentrated and intensified in the households of men who fail or refuse to come to grips with the empowerment of women and the economic and cultural changes that facilitate it. The challenge will be to design public policies that have a benign impact on domestic partnerships and that recognize the risks as well as the benefits of the movement toward gender equality.