'The Justice Cascade': Holding Human Rights Abusers Accountable

WOLA/Duke Human Rights Book Award Winner Kathryn Sikkink to speak at Duke Nov. 2

the world, former government and security force officials accused of human
rights crimes are facing prosecutions in unprecedented numbers.

scholar Kathryn Sikkink, this is part of what she calls "the justice cascade,"
a new development in world politics. "Only 30 years ago, it was virtually
unheard of, almost unimaginable, for a national or international tribunal to
hold state officials criminally accountable for human rights violations," Sikkink said.

Kathyrn Sikkink
Kathryn Sikkink

ground-breaking book, "The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions
are Changing World Politics" (W.W.
Norton), won the Washington Office on
Latin America (WOLA)-Duke University Human
Rights Book Award
for 2011. This year's panel of judges called The
Justice Cascade
"compelling" and "eye-opening," recognizing it for its
important contribution to the field of human rights, Latin American studies and

will read from "The Justice Cascade" in a free, public event at 5
p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, in the Rare Book Room of Duke s Perkins Library and
receive a $1,000 cash award. The Justice Cascade opens with a look at
Sikkink's own experience living in Uruguay during its brutal military
dictatorship in the 1970s. She explores the political effects when the military
officers were held accountable, emphasizing the need to ensure that
prosecutions have their intended impact of long-term justice and respect for
human rights.

The chair
of the WOLA/Duke Book Award judges committee, Leonor Blum, a professor of
history and political science at Notre Dame of Maryland University, said
Sikkink's work "shows not only the progress made in bringing human rights
violators to justice, but also how such progress can impact subsequent
governments and even neighboring countries."

is a Regents Professor and the McKnight Presidential Chair in political science
at the University of Minnesota. 
She has a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.  Her publications include "Mixed
Signals: U.S. Human Rights Policy and Latin America, Activists Beyond Borders:
Advocacy Networks in International Politics" (co-authored with Margaret
Keck and "The Power of Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic
Change" (co-edited with Thomas Risse and Stephen Ropp).

in 2008, the WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award is a joint venture of Duke
University and WOLA, a leading advocacy organization based in Washington, DC.
The award honors the best current, non-fiction book published in English on
human rights, democracy, and social justice in contemporary Latin America. The
books are evaluated by a panel of expert judges drawn from academia, journalism
and public policy circles.

Previous WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award
recipients include:
Victoria Bruce and Karin Hayes, with Jorge Enrique Botero for "Hostage Nation: Colombia's Guerrilla Army
and America's Failed War on Drugs" in 2010; Ambassador Heraldo
Munoz for "The Dictator's Shadow:
Life Under Augusto Pinochet" in 2009; and Francisco Goldman for "The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the
Bishop?" in 2008.

Duke sponsors for the event include the Duke Human Rights Center, Duke's Human Rights Archive, the Office of the Vice Provost for International Studies and the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies.