Democratic Transition

Belarus Before Elections

As Belarus heads towards presidential elections in October, the NGO Pact, with the assistance of USAID, brought a delegation of Belarusian civic activists and policy analysts to Washington, DC. They gave a briefing on trends in the politics, economy, and civil society of Belarus and discussed the post-election prognosis. Although political leadership is unlikely to change, the domestic and international implications of the Ukraine crisis are changing Belarus' trajectory. 

Kerry in Cuba: Can Relations Become “Normal”?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will take an historic trip to Havana, Cuba on August 14th to raise the stars and stripes at the U.S. embassy for the first time in over 50 years. He will be the first Secretary of State to travel there in 70 years. His visit brings to a close the first stage of diplomatic normalization with Cuba that began last December when Presidents Obama and Castro announced their intentions to do so.

Tehran’s Promise

As the diplomacy on Iran’s nuclear program entered a final phase, in Europe, I visited the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, the ideologue of Iran’s 1979 revolution, in Tehran. One of the grandest mausoleums in the world—its shimmering dome is visible for miles—was under expansion. The Imam’s bare receiving room, in his home, was preserved after he died, in 1989, in tribute to his modesty, but renovations at his tomb featured vaulted ceilings, lined with intricate mosaics, that soared stories high, and epic arches adorned with tiles in many shades of blue.

'Burundi: How Should the International Community Respond?': Steve McDonald Testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations

From War to Peace: In Search of Transitional Justice

When a country moves from conflict to peace, the transitional period includes a desire for justice that can take many forms. Arnaud Kurze’s research project explores the creation of “alternative transitional justice spaces” in post-conflict contexts, particularly concentrating on the role of art and the impact of social movements to address human rights abuses. Drawing on the former Yugoslavia, post-Mubarak Egypt and post-authoritarian Tunisia, he scrutinizes the work of contemporary youth activists and artists to deal with the past and foster sociopolitical change.

Infographic: The Results are in: Mexico's Midterm Elections

 

On Knife’s Edge: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia’s Impact on Violence Against Civilians

The post-Cold War era has witnessed horrific violence against non-combatants. In the Bosnian War alone, tens of thousands of civilians died. The founders of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)—and then of the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC)—hoped these courts might curb such atrocities.  However, we still know very little about their actual impact.  This talk will draw on the ICTY’s experience as the first wartime international criminal tribunal to provide insight into how and when these institutions might affect violence against civilians.

Electoral Results, As Anticipated

As we wrote here, the midterm election pointed out to some likely unexpected results. Those results finally materialized and provided interesting surprises.

Undoubtedly, the best news was the electoral turnout, despite the threats of violence, boycott, abstention and rallies for “ballot annulling”. With 47% of the voters list showing up, it was the busiest midterm election since 1997. At State level, turnout surpassed an astonishing 60% in Nuevo León. Clearly, people opted for a democratic way to reject violence and provocation.

Finding Its Way to the West? Ukraine and Its Challenges

The Maidan revolution was launched to ensure that Ukraine could make its European choice. Political rhetoric aside, what are Ukraine’s true prospects for success and how much assistance is the West really prepared to offer? In discussing these issues, the panelists offered their impressions from recent visits to Ukraine and on-going discussions with leading European policymakers.

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