Go to the U of M home page


Monday, November 18, 2013

Professor Kathryn Sikkink shares insight on the future of human rights prosecutions

img004.jpgOn November 15th, Professor Kathryn Sikkink, a Regents Professor at the U of M, presented findings from her book The Justice Cascade at the Symposium on the Nuremberg Trials and the World's Response to Genocide. This Symposium "addressed the importance of the Nuremberg trials for the rule of law...and featured a panel of top scholars who discussed the role of an international criminal court and the challenges of an international response to genocide." Sikkink's presentation centered on the future of human rights prosecutions on both an international and domestic scale, examining Nuremberg as a momentous advancement in human rights prosecutions and connecting it to today's tribunals.

The Justice Cascade, written by Sikkink in 2006, explores the impact of international and domestic human rights trials as means to achieving accountability for past human rights violations. Sikkink argues that there is too much focus on international trials such as those carried out by the International Criminal Court, also known as the ICC. She examined the effectiveness of a domestic court versus an international court and concluded that a domestic court would generally prove more effective because obtaining evidence and testimonies on an international scale is difficult. Sikkink also stated that human rights prosecutions, especially trials such as Nuremberg, have a profound effect on human rights practices. Finally, Sikkink believes that the Nuremberg Trials established a precedent: "A model for others...People have fought for accountability, and it is possible that these advancements can be sustained through perseverance and dedication."
Written by Sean Van Domelen
Volunteer, Human Rights Program