The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics

by Kathryn Sikkink

What is the impact of putting former national leaders on trial for massive violations of human rights? Surely, most who are aware of the crimes, and certainly the surviving victims, find value in the trials and convictions of murderous leaders and their associates. On the other hand, there are cases in which such prosecutions may forestall healing; few, for example, have questioned Nelson Mandela’s decision not to seek criminal trials for the former leaders of South African apartheid.