Function and Dysfunction in Post-Conflict Justice Networks and Communities

By Baylis, Elena | Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, May 2014 | Go to article overview

Function and Dysfunction in Post-Conflict Justice Networks and Communities


Baylis, Elena, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


ABSTRACT

The field of post-conflict justice includes many well-known international criminal law and rule of law initiatives, from the International Criminal Court to legal reform programs in Afghanistan and Iraq. Less visible, but nonetheless vital to the field, are the international staff (known as internationals) who carry out these transitional justice enterprises, and the networks and communities of practice that connect them to each other. By sharing information, collaborating on joint action, and debating proposed legal rules within their networks and communities, internationals help to develop and implement the core norms and practices of post-conflict justice. These modes of collaboration are particularly important because the field's fundamental norms and practices are still evolving dramatically. But at times, these networks and communities are dysfunctional. Then, internationals' ability to engage in robust dialogue and work together is compromised, to the detriment of the effectiveness of their work and the maturation of the field as a whole. In examining these issues, this Article draws on a series of interviews with internationals who have worked in post-conflict justice.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I.   INTRODUCTION
II.  NETWORKS AND COMMUNITIES
     A. Defining Networks and Communities
     B. How PCJ Networks Are Formed, Used,
         and Maintained
         1. Narrative of PCJ Network Formation
            and Use
         2. Key Factors in Network Formation
            and Use
            a. Development of Network Ties
            b. Categories of Network Use
     C.  PCJ Communities
         1. Communities of Practice
III. TWO PCJ COMMUNITIES
     A.  Details of ROL and ICL
         1. Content of ICL and ROL
         2. Structure of ICL and ROL Work and
            Employment
         3. Development of Modern ICL and ROL
     B.  Local, Intra-institutional Knowledge
         Communities
         1. ICL
         2. ROL
     C.  Knowledge Sharing and Assistance.
         1. ICL
         2. ROL.
         3. Reification and Boundary Objects
VI. CONCLUSIONS
    A.  Functional and Dysfunctional Communities
    B.  Boundaries and Intersections
        1.  ROL Intersections with Post-conflict
            National Networks and Communities
        2.  ICL Intersections and Boundaries
APPENDIX A. METHODOLOGY
APPENDIX B. INTERVIEW INDEXES

I. INTRODUCTION

The field of post-conflict justice includes many well-known initiatives, from the International Criminal Court (ICC) trying accused war criminals in The Hague to the United States organizing massive programs to rebuild the justice systems in Afghanistan and Iraq. Less visible, but nonetheless vital to the field, are the international staff (known as internationals) who carry out these transitional justice enterprises, and the networks and communities (1) that connect them to each other.

In international criminal tribunals and in post-conflict states, internationals form tight-knit social communities. As they move from one job and post-conflict setting to another, these local relationships become transnational networks. Internationals share soccer scores and job opportunities with their local and transnational connections, to be sure, but they also debate new legal developments, collaborate on joint projects, and offer professional advice and assistance. Internationals conducting rule of law (ROL) programs form working relationships for the purpose of training judges or passing reform legislation, for example; those working in international criminal law (ICL) e-mail each other with news of the latest decisions and judgments.

When used in these ways, internationals' communities and networks become a source of knowledge production and circulation, simultaneously contributing to and putting into action the core norms and practices of post-conflict justice. Or at least, they do so when they are characterized by a common purpose, mutual trust, and the free flow of information. …

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