The Day after the Torture Report

The Day after the Torture Report

by Marianna Karakoulaki

After a long wait and many delays the US Senate’s infamous ‘torture report’ was released on Tuesday 9th December. The torture report is 528 page document entitled ‘Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program’ written by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The released document is an executive summary of a more than 6,700 page report which analysed more than 6 million memos, statements and other documents and focuses on the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme from 2001 until 2009 – when the programme was officially terminated. The gruesome torture techniques used by the CIA remained a well-guarded secret until Tuesday despite a decade full of accusations and rumour games.

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Before the Law Stands a Gatekeeper

Before the Law Stands a Gatekeeper

By Ioana Cerasella Chis

 All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN 1948).

‘Before the law stands a gatekeeper’ – this is how Franz Kafka’s short parable begins. A man from the countryside (K) arrives in front of a legislative building to be admitted to the Law. However, the gatekeeper stands in front of the door, always deferring the man’s admittance. K waits patiently, at times bribing the gatekeeper; in return, he is told: ‘I am taking this only so that you do not think you have failed to do anything’. The gatekeeper informs K that the latter can try to enter the Law, but he also reminds the countryman of the former’s power to keep him away from the gate: ‘It is possible’ to be admitted, the man is told, ‘but not now’. K waits his entire life before the Law, and dies outside the building. The parable ends here.

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Liberal Peace and Peace-Building: Another Critique

Liberal Peace and Peace-Building: Another Critique

by Zenonas Tziarras

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INTRODUCTION

Democratic Liberalism is based on the notion that liberal democracies are more peaceful and law-abiding in relation to other political systems. The liberal peace theory – or Liberal Democratic theory or Democratic peace – and therefore liberal peace-building, have become more prominent after the end of the Cold War because of the predominance of the western ideology. How valid are they though? The questions that this theory raises are not only related to how one defines democracy or peace but also to whether the model of liberal democracy is suitable for every society or every post-conflict state. Moreover, given the role liberal democracy plays in state/peace-building in fragile countries, it raises questions regarding the moral dilemmas of imposing liberal democracy as a form of neo-imperialism rather than development. In other words, even though the build-up of a democracy could – at least to some extent – benefit the recipient country, is it really something that is right to do considering that in the long term this model of development may institutionalize western interests or local problems? Continue reading

Labeling Human Rights

Labeling Human Rights

by Marianna Karakoulaki

“Is there such a thing as “Women’s Rights”, and if so which rights are “Men’s Rights”? Can “Gay rights” be considered as men’s rights? And if so, does not that apply to gay women? And what about transgendered people? And in the end, what about everything? And if there are so many divisions why do we keep saying “human rights” after all?

The answer should come natural to anyone: “there are human rights, not women’s or men’s rights”. Some argue that women have separate rights because they suffer more in some regions of the world. Some argue that human rights are universal and the same for everyone. Indeed, people tend to create so many labels for human rights that sometimes forget to talk about their universality. Continue reading