A non-democratic system of government is an important risk factor for the perpetration of atrocity crimes, meaning genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. At the 2005 World Summit the international community accepted the responsibility to protect populations from these crimes when the domestic state is failing to do so. The implementation of the responsibility to protect, however, leaves much to be desired. This book studies the role dictators play in orchestrating mass atrocities and analyses their decision-making process when the international community tries to stop or mitigate the perpetration of these crimes. Through a comparative case study of Pol Pot and Slobodan Milosevic it argues that the role ideology plays in the decision-making process of the dictator is an important determinant of their responsiveness. In doing so, it challenges the common notion that all dictators are primarily motivated by retaining their position of power and argues that while dictators are frequently characterised as raging mad men, this is not necessarily always the case. It rather argues in favour of a more nuanced approach to rationality, that uses the work of Max Weber to acknowledge that different types of rationality exist, when analysing the decision-making process of dictators. The book is therefore an indispensable resource for scholars who are interested in the role of dictators in bringing forth and stopping mass atrocities and for anyone who wants more insight into the rationality of dictators.
Maartje Weerdesteijn is an interdisciplinary scholar and lecturer at Utrecht University. She holds a bachelor from Maastricht University and a master from VU University Amsterdam where she worked for several years as a lecturer. She conducted her PhD research at Tilburg University and published in renowned international journals, including Politics and Governance, International Criminal Law Review and Genocide Studies and Prevention.
Chapter 1. Introduction (p. 1)
The time that criminal law was pre-eminently a national matter is gone. Criminal law and criminal procedure is no longer solely a product of decisions made by national legislative bodies, applied by national police, prosecutors and judges. A new criminal law is developing which goes beyond separate nations: supranational criminal law.
One example of this development is the relatively young body of law concerning war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Particularly essential to this development has been the establishment of the ICTY, the ICTR and the ICC, and of many internationalised tribunals all over the world. A second example of the development towards the supranationalisation of criminal law can be seen on a more regional level. In Europe for instance, the area of criminal law has become a prioritised field of co-operation in the third pillar of the European Union. These supranational criminal systems are criminal systems sui generis.
That at least is the presupposition of this series on supranational criminal law. The Supranational Criminal Law: Capita Selecta series contributes to this discussion from a theoretical, dogmatic point of view, working towards new, consistent and fair penal systems, crossing the borders of the old law families and traditions.
The series is edited by Dr. Roelof H. Haveman (editor-in-chief - Rule of Law Advisor, embassy of the Netherlands in Mali), Dr. Paul J.A. De Hert (Free University of Brussels, Belgium and University of Tilburg, the Netherlands) and Dr. Alette Smeulers (University of Groningen, the Netherlands).
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