Human Rights Violations, Accountability and Delegation

03.09.2012 - 14:00
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Prof. Neil Mitchell
Lecturer affiliation: 
University College London

We know something about the causes of human rights violations that protect civilians and detainees from killing and abuse. We know which sorts of regimes under what conditions are most likely to commit these violations. But there has been less work on what happens after violations are committed, how blame is managed and how accountability is delivered. Accountability is the focus of the talk and in particular how democracies manage the blame for human rights violations. Of all systems we expect the most of democracies. But there has been little analysis of whether the assumptions by scholars and democratic leaders about the relationship between democracy and accountability are supported by performance in this area. The broad theoretical claim of the talk is that the analysis of delegation, developed by economists and public policy scholars with other topics on their minds, offers an elegant and policy-rich path of inquiry, and political science has something to offer in return. It uses the question of accountability for human rights violations to show that political science has something to contribute to the study of delegation and the relationship between principal and agent, a relationship at the heart of the discipline of economics. The talk is in four parts. It begins by sorting out the types of violations and how these violations bring into question the relationship between those who give orders and those who carry them out, with some data on the use militias. The second and third parts concern the general theoretical argument and some case illustrations. The last part draws out the policy and theoretical implications.