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The Impact of Accountability Measures in the Asia-Pacific

Drawing on cross-national analyses, in their chapter, Payne and Sikkink present three arguments concerning the impact of transitional justice measures. First, both Payne and Sikkink argue that transitional justice measures, especially the criminal prosecution of former state officials for human rights violations, are associated with improvements in respect for human rights. This, they argue, provides some evidence supporting the deterrence and normative socialisation approaches. Second, however, while Payne agrees with Sikkink that human rights trials are associated with positive outcomes for human rights, she adds a caveat to her argument: prosecutions have a positive impact on human rights when they are combined with amnesties. In what she and her co-authors have termed the ‘justice balance’, the most positive outcomes for human rights, democracy and peace are produced by two particular combinations of transitional justice mechanisms: trials and amnesties; and trials, amnesties and truth commissions. Third, and finally, Sikkink and Payne reach different conclusions concerning the independent effects of truth commissions. While Sikkink, in her collaboration with Kim, has found that truth commissions are associated with improvements in human rights, Payne and her co-authors have found that they are not.

 
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