qustions on Human rights, and Order and Justice
One of the advantages of a truth commission as compared to a criminal proceeding is that often, the government set in place after the fall of a dictatorship or a military regime, for example, is just starting its work and it is still weak and without the possibility to strongly follow the criminals. Such a government would not find the resources by which the former enemies could now find the appropriate framework in which to live on in the country and it is often in these cases that the truth commissions are more efficient in dealing with the past and, at the same time, in breaking with it before the new start. The judicial system may also need a certain amount of time after being neutralized by the former regime before becoming functional again.
Another important advantage is related to the fact that a truth commission's job is to establish facts from the past so as to continue with the future, but this is done in a way that the factions can accept living in peace over the next period of time. A criminal proceeding would tend to set the victors against the vanquished and would leave wounds open within the same country or people.
One of the important disadvantages of truth commissions is that, unlike the criminal procedures, truth commissions are not entrusted with the ability to give out punishment to the criminals and, at the same time, the amount of proof or evidence required within a truth commission is usually not as ample as it is in the case of criminal procedures, which may leave some facts out of the investigation and sometimes lead to erroneous decisions (Brahm, 2004).
On the other hand, truth commissions sometimes find their activity limited or hampered with by the limit of the resources which they have received. This means that, despite the fact that they are legitimized by the government, their effectiveness is sometimes questionable.
2. First of all, as Forsythe shows on page 122, the promotion and protection of civil and political rights were considered to be the fundamental, core element of any form on regional integration or regional institutionalization process, be it the European Union, the Council of Europe or any other forms of political or economic integration attempts (Forsythe, 2006). Several of the European regional institutions were created not only to coordinate social policies, as was the Council of Europe, but, indeed, included in the format of the institution, documents and credo that promoted and defended fundamental rights of the individual.
One such example is the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms that took effect after 1953 and that provided a judicial and legal framework for human rights protection. The legal and judicial framework within the Council of Europe expanded to include judicial frameworks for the protection against torture or of national minorities.
On the other hand, the quality of human rights protection in Europe is also assured by the fact that the citizens of Europe have confidence in a system that has shown its efficiency over time and they are ready to turn to it whenever they feel that there rights might be wronged at a national level (Forsythe, 2006). Along with the fact that the national system needed to be completed with a regional one to become efficient, this shows why the protection of human rights in Europe was generally effective.
The Western Hemisphere provides, to the same degree as Europe, an institutional framework in which human rights protection can be assured: this is the Organization of American States. However, different from the situation in Europe, these states have felt the involvement of the U.S. In their own political life and some of the governmental programs insisted on limiting outside involvement, including that of the OAS, which limited the capacity of this organization to intervene, even in cases when there were gross violations of human rights. At the same time, the practice of human rights protection and liberal democracy was not really implemented with the lower classes or indigenous people (Forsythe, 2006).
3. First of all, we need to consider the fact that, for some countries, the ideas of respecting and promoting fundamental rights for the individual goes back several hundred of years. In the case of England, for example, the Magna Carta, created and adopted in 1215, was a document that provided for the respect by the sovereign of certain fundamental rights for the citizen. This is something that happened almost 800 years ago and this is why Great Britain remains an important promoter of human rights principles in today's international relations framework. It is the same case with France, for example, with the French Revolution and the document promoted at that time and the examples could continue.
On the other hand and in opposition to this, some countries simply do not have the habitude of promoting or defending human rights, often because the history of these countries saw generally large periods of autocratic rule and no respect for human rights. Such a country is Russia, where after the autocratic regime of the Tsar followed the Communist regime, just as repressive and with just the same limited perspective on human rights. China is another potential example in this sense. No experience with defending human rights and fighting for their fundamental rights also meant that the citizens of these countries were often reticent to revolt to defend their rights and why semi-autocratic regimes are still in power today in these countries.
At the same time, in some countries, for example in many of the African countries, the central government is still relatively weak and unable to enforce many of its measures, including respect for human rights and defending the fundamental rights of the citizens. In such countries, the rival factions across the country often appeal to acts of human rights violation as a method of fighting among each other.
4. In order to properly answer this question, I think that one has first to debate to what degree the governmental decisions should be factored in the respect for human rights process and actions and the degree to which human rights can be placed above a certain governmental authority. In my opinion, the latter is a better supported fact in that entities, including non-governmental or private organizations whose mission is to promote respect for human rights, should overpass governmental decisions and act so as to see the implementation of measures aimed at protecting human rights in that respective country.
Such actions can be considered as being moralistic, because they take into consideration morally recognized values of respect and promotion of fundamental human rights and will abide by any means to ensure that these fundamental rights are also respected in practice.
On the other hand, despite the fact that they may be considered moralistic in their intervention, it is less likely that we can consider their interventions as being legalistic. With an intervention in state affair, a private organizations of this type does not abide by the general international legal framework which promotes respect for a country's sovereignty and elected government. One can also discuss the degree to which a government that has imposed itself by force can still use the general international legal framework that guarantees its right of staying in power, given the fact that it most likely did not respect it itself.
5. In my opinion, if we follow on George W. Bush's argumentation referring to this particular act, we might arrive to conclusions such as that the Declaration on Fundamental Rights, issued during the French Revolution, has no relevance nowadays simply because it was not intended to cover issues that would occur during the 21st century. However, these types of acts and laws were exactly passed out for that reason and with the purpose of having a wide enough interpretation and being general enough not to be limited to a certain period of time or a particular geographic location.
On the other hand, George W. Bush is right to argue that some of the particularities of different acts and laws from the past, although still applicable today, may need to be reformulated or reapplied to include more of the realities we are dealing with today. Issues such as mass migration or the proliferation of international terrorism were not issues that individuals and governments needed to deal with 200 years ago, which is why the legislative framework in place at that point referred to other actual issues then.
However, this judgment is made solely following a logical path. If we were to think morally, the whole limitation of the act's area of coverage, especially given the argumentation that is used, is entirely outrageous. One can explain it through the real reasons governing such a decision rather than through reference to the date the act was first put into practice.
6. On one hand, the framework for respect and promotion of international rights was initially…