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ISDS Regimes and Democratic Practice: Creating Conflict of Interests between Governments, Investors and Local Populations

Abstract

The recent debate over the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) regimes of international arbitration has resulted in concerted efforts aimed mainly at protecting the rights of states to regulate, improving transparency of proceedings and eliminating inconsistency in decision making of the tribunals. While the existing scholarly work frequently addresses issues of the relationship between the existing investment regimes and good governance in general, increased attention is rarely paid to the effects that investment arbitration has on democratic practice. The article applies an “action-based” approach to democracy, in order to analyse the role that the ISDS regimes play in exacerbating conflicts between the local populations, foreign investors and governments. The analysis leads to a conclusion that the ISDS regimes create incentives for the governments and foreign investors to disregard sound democratic practice. The article represents an attempt to move the discussion about the ISDS regimes away from the question of legitimacy of the regimes to the question of the impacts that the regimes have in practice.

Open access
Reconciling after Transitional Justice: When Prosecutions are not Enough, the Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Abstract

The concept and study of transitional justice has grown exponentially over the last decades. Since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials after the end of the Second World War, there have been a number of attempts made across the globe to achieve justice for human rights violations (International Peace Institute 2013: 10). How these attempts at achieving justice impact whether or not societies reconcile, continues to be one of the key discussions taking place in a transitional justice discourse. One particular context where this debate continues to rage on is in Bosnia and Herzegovina, many scholars argue that the transitional justice process and mechanism employed in Bosnia and Herzegovina have not fostered inter-group reconciliation, but in fact caused more divisions. To this end, this article explores the context of transitional justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina from a unique perspective that focuses on the need for reconciliation and healing after transitional justice processes like war crime prosecutions. This article explores why the prosecuting of war criminals has not fostered reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and how the processes have divided Bosnian society further. Additionally, this article presents the idea of state-sponsored dialog sessions as a way of dealing with the past and moving beyond the divisions of retributive justice.

Open access
Same Old (Macro-) Securitization? A Comparison of Political Reactions to Major Terrorist Attacks in the United States and France

Abstract

After the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, the French government reacted swiftly by declaring a state of emergency. This state of emergency remained in place for over two years before it was ended in November 2017, only after being replaced by the new anti-terror legislation. The attacks as well as the government’s reactions evoked parallels to 9/11 and its aftermath. This is a puzzling observation when taking into consideration that the Bush administration’s reactions have been criticized harshly and that the US ‘War on Terror’ (WoT) was initially considered a serious failure in France. We can assume that this adaption of the discourse and practices stems from a successful establishment of the WoT macro-securitization. By using Securitization Theory, we outline the development of this macro-securitization by comparing its current manifestation in France against the backdrop of its origins in the US after 9/11. We analysed securitizing moves in the discourses, as well as domestic and international emergency measure policies. We find extensive similarities with view of both; yet there are differing degrees of securitizing terrorism and the institutionalisation of the WoT in the two states. This suggests that the WoT narrative is still dominant internationally to frame the risk of terrorism as an existential threat, thus enabling repressive actions and the obstruction of a meaningful debate about the underlying problems causing terrorism in the first place.

Open access