Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Moonhawk Kim

Second Advisor

David H. Bearce

Third Advisor

Steve Chan

Fourth Advisor

Andy Baker

Fifth Advisor

Anna Spain

Abstract

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, accusations have been leveled against the United States, and specifically the CIA, for rendering hundreds of people suspected by the US government of being terrorists (or of aiding and abetting terrorist organizations) to third-party states such as Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Uzbekistan. Critics have accused the CIA of rendering suspects to other countries in order to avoid US laws mandating due process and prohibiting torture, even though many of those countries have, like the US, signed or ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture. This process is referred to as ``extraordinary rendition''. It was this recent incident of a coordinated effort to commit human rights violations that inspired my dissertation topic.

My dissertation looks at human rights violations as being the result of the coordinated efforts of multiple countries to avoid detection and punishment. I utilize game theory to develop a formal model that produces predications that the interaction between potential human rights violators and human rights adjudication bodies revolves around states decisions to coordinate their violation behavior. The first empirical chapter illustrates that states coordinate their violations so as to diminish the likelihood of detection and/or punishment. The second shows that violators who coordinate their violations with other states, especially powerful ones, are more likely to receive a judgment in their favor than violators with fewer and/or weaker allies. The final empirical chapter looks at victims' decisions over whether to bring their complaint before the adjudication body. The central finding is that coordinated efforts make it significantly less likely that cases will ever be heard at the international level. I use the UN's International Convention on Civil and Political Rights to frame the context of the analysis.

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