There is not sufficient evidence on the use of sexual violence in conflict to determine whether it is increasing or decreasing in prevalence or institutionalization. However, evidence indicates it is widespread. Conflict-related gendered violence can range from a tool of economic exploitation, oppression and violence, especially during conflicts, disasters and their aftermath, to the systematic use of sexual violence as a strategy in armed conflict. Gender-based violence (GBV) is defined in humanitarian contexts as “an umbrella term for any harmful act that is perpetrated against a person’s will, and that is based on socially ascribed (gender) differences between males and […]

The Crimea crisis has given realists a field day for attacking the belief structures of rules-based internationalists. Ukraine just paid the price of giving up its nuclear weapons 20 years ago, we hear, and the Budapest Memorandum guarantees of Ukraine’s borders did nothing to change Moscow’s behavior. Integrating Russia into international economic institutions proved equally meaningless. As for human rights and the rule of law, everyone knows they don’t matter when the vital national interests of great powers are at stake. The reality, however, is more complicated. The fabric of international norms actually functioned as intended on the nuclear issue. […]

Relations between South Africa and Rwanda have suffered a sharp downturn in the first three months of 2014 with the murder in South Africa on New Year’s Eve of Patrick Karegeya, the former head of Rwandan external intelligence, and the attempted murder in Johannesburg in early March of the former head of the Rwandan army, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa. Both men were once close confidants of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, but since fleeing Rwanda for South Africa, in 2007 and 2010 respectively, both have been viewed by Kigali as traitors, terrorists and legitimate targets for elimination. Indeed this was the third […]

This month, Saadi Gadhafi, the son of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, was extradited from Niger to Libya to face trial. In an email interview, Hanan Salah, a Libya researcher at Human Rights Watch, explained the progress and failures to date of Libya’s post-Gadhafi judiciary. WPR: What have been the areas of greatest progress and failure in the process of rebuilding Libya’s post-Gadhafi judiciary? Hanan Salah: More than two years after the end of the uprising, Libya’s justice system is facing numerous challenges, and the authorities are unable to impose law and order. Amid rampant violence mainly by unaccountable militias, […]

Twenty years ago it was fashionable in academic circles to predict the end of sovereignty. It was also fashionable for people to take to the streets to protest the end of sovereignty. In both cases, trade occupied a central role. For academics and policymakers, the transition from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), a messy, poorly defined system that was never an organization administering an agreement that was never a treaty, to the World Trade Organization (WTO), a carefully structured organization administering a phalanx of treaties, was a thing of wonder and the object of almost constant scrutiny. […]

No secular organization has ever peacefully deprived states of as much sovereignty as has the European Union. National autonomy to regulate the environment, labor, the professions, antitrust, consumer protection, food and product safety, agriculture, advertising and almost any other area one can think of, even highly sensitive ones such as criminal law and civil procedure, has been gradually constrained over the years by rules coming from the EU. Often the source of these rules is EU legislation, usually in the form of directives, which are laws that contain instructions to the member states to take certain action or implement certain […]

The way the Internet is governed is of strategic importance to modern society. Yet current Internet governance (IG) is not robust enough to address the Internet’s critical relevance. The revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the deep reach of spy agencies online created a major earthquake in digital politics, showing the limitations of the existing Internet governance institutions in dealing with major economic and geopolitical tensions. Many governments, international organizations, think tanks and experts, have started a search for a new IG formula, moving the issue from the realm of engineers and geeks into the premier league of […]

Amid the crisis in Crimea, Turkey authorized a U.S. Navy destroyer to pass through the Bosphorus last week but noted that the legal agreement governing access to the Black Sea would not permit a U.S. aircraft carrier to make the same passage. In an email interview, James Kraska, an expert in maritime governance who is Mary Derrickson McCurdy visiting scholar at Duke University, discussed the terms of the Montreux Convention. WPR: What is the history of the Montreux Convention, and what are its terms? James Kraska: The Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits 1936 (the Montreux Convention) governs transit […]