Thursday, October 31, 2013

Baylis: Function and Dysfunction in Post-Conflict Justice Networks and Communities

Elena A. Baylis (Univ. of Pittsburgh - Law) has posted Function and Dysfunction in Post-Conflict Justice Networks and Communities (Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, forthcoming). Here's the abstract:

The field of post-conflict justice includes many well-known international criminal law and rule of law initiatives, from the International Criminal Court to rule of law programs aimed at legal development and reform in Afghanistan and Iraq. Less visible but nonetheless vital to the field are the international staff (known as “internationals”) who carry out these transitional justice enterprises, and the networks and communities that connect them to each other. By sharing information, collaborating on joint action, and debating proposed legal rules within their networks and communities, internationals help to develop and implement the core norms and practices of post-conflict justice. This is particularly important because these fundamental norms and practices are still evolving dramatically. But at times, these networks and communities are dysfunctional. Then, internationals’ ability to engage in robust dialogue and work together is compromised, to the detriment of the effectiveness of their work and of the maturation of the field as a whole.

This article examines these networks and communities from the perspective of internationals themselves. It is based on my interviews with fifty internationals about their perceptions of their post-conflict justice work and their connections with others in the field. The article focuses on two communities of practice for in-depth analysis: internationals working for international criminal tribunals and internationals carrying out rule of law work within post-conflict states. Using the information provided by interviewees, the article identifies factors that influence how these communities form and function; it then analyzes the role such communities play in facilitating the development of shared norms and practices. The paper concludes with an exploration of the boundaries of these communities and their intersections with other groups, such as defense attorneys in international criminal law and national actors in rule of law work.