This interdisciplinary course explores the different approaches taken by individual countries and the international community to violations of international human rights. It focuses in particular on the challenges raised by the demand for accountability during periods of political transition, as countries move from authoritarian regimes and civil wars to societies based on democracy and the rule of law. It examines current principles of accountability as well as the various mechanisms for enforcing these principles, including truth and reconciliation commissions, international criminal tribunals, legal actions by third-party countries under the theory of universal jurisdiction, “lustration” laws that bar perpetrators of human rights abuses from holding public office, and reparations for victims of human rights violations. The course also considers the obstacles to achieving accountability for international human rights violations, including domestic political instability, national amnesty laws, institutional weaknesses, and geopolitical concerns.
Course requirements: The Junior Seminars are intense writing seminars which focus on the research area of the faculty member teaching the course. The seminars provide an opportunity for students to have direct intellectual interactions with faculty members while also giving the students an understanding for faculty research.
Prerequisites: Political Science Majors of Junior and Senior status, with a minimum overall GPA of 3.3. Students must place themselves on the waitlist through TeleBEARS. Selection and notification will occur around August 12, 2011