Debt, Dictatorship, and Democratization

By Professor Robert Howse

NEW YORK – After Saddam Hussein’s fall, the United States successfully pressed creditors to write off much of Iraq’s external debt. Senior American officials, including Paul Wolfowitz, later President of the World Bank, argued that the Iraqi people should not be saddled with obligations that the dictator contracted in order to enrich himself and oppress his subjects. Citing a long-standing doctrine in international law, advocates of a write-off claimed that Iraq’s debt was “odious.” As a result, <Read More>

Criminalizing the Negation of the Armenian Genocide

The French Parliament has adopted on the 23rd of January 2012 a bill criminalizing the negation of genocides, which have been recognized by French law, with one-year imprisonment and a 45,000 Euros fine.

France has recognized two genocides, the one perpetrated by Nazi Germany against the Jews and the one perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians.

This law is at the center of a political crisis between Paris and Ankara, with most of its detractors seeing it as a public <Read More>

Interview with José Zalaquett

José Zalaquett was a founder of the Chilean Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Soon after Pinochet came to power, Mr. Zalaquett became involved with El Comité Pro Paz, which aimed to defend victims of human rights abuses.  During this time, Mr. Zalaquett was imprisoned twice for the work he was doing and subsequently exiled from Chile in 1975.  From 1979 to 1982 he served as the head of the International Executive Committee.  Upon his return, 11 years later, he was assigned by President Patricio Aylwin to lead the <Read More>

Natasa Kandic – Reflections on Restorative Justice

Natasa Kandic doesn’t necessarily have the “look” of a fearless activist.  Her miniature frame, dark-rimmed eyeglasses and stylish haircut reminded me more of a fashion publicist than a human rights firebrand.  But since founding the Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade, Serbia in 1992, Kandic has become a central figure in the struggle to bring justice and peace to the former Yugoslavia.

Interview with Rajmohan Gandhi


Rajmohan Gandhi, the grandson of renowned ideological and political Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, is a Research Professor at the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Gandhi was a former member of the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Indian Parliament) and led the Indian delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva in 1990.  Throughout his life, Gandhi has been actively speaking, writing, and creating dialogue for trust-building, establishing truth, <Read More>