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  • Author: Greg Delawie
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, is the most pro-American country in the world. From 2012 to 2013, it was also the world’s per-capita biggest source of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) in Syria. It would seem those two statements could not possibly both be true, but they are. This is the story of how the professional diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Pristina, aided by experts from the United States, played a major role in helping the new country bring the FTF problem under control for our mutual benefit. Between 2012 (when the Syrian civil war started) and 2016, more than 300 Kosovo citizens went to fight with al-Nusra, or ISIS. U.N. Development Program analysts who interviewed FTFs identified two categories of reasons for this phenomenon: “push factors” and “pull factors.” Among the push factors were Kosovo’s poverty, weak rule of law (enabling porous borders), corruption and high unemployment, especially among the young (60%, compared to 30% overall, in a population with 50% age 25 or younger). The pull factors were more complicated: After the 1998-1999 Kosovo war, “humanitarian” NGOs from the Middle East came to build mosques and provide aid, also importing Wahabi-style Islam, which is very different from Kosovo’s Hanafi Islamic tradition. Some Kosovo imams trained in Middle Eastern religious schools came back with a more radical Islam. ISIS recruiters proclaimed a religious duty for Kosovars to help Syrian Muslims threatened by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Radical imams operating outside the Kosovo Islamic community recruited young men, often offering computer or English classes as bait.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Conflict, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Balkans
  • Author: Christopher Datta
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: To win the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan did something for which he is never credited: he dramatically increased the budget of the United States Information Agency, the public diplomacy arm of our struggle against communism. Senegal, in September of 1999, was about to hold a presidential election. Because of USIA's long history of promoting journalism in Senegal, the embassy decided to work in partnership with the local Print, Radio and Television Journalists Federation to hold a series of workshops on the role of journalists in covering elections. USIA was uniquely organized to promote democratic development through the long term support of human rights organizations, journalism, programs that helped build the rule of law, educational programs that encouraged the acceptance of diversity in society and, perhaps most importantly, through partnering with and supporting local opinion leaders to help them promote democratic values that stand in opposition to ideologies hostile to the West.
  • Topic: Cold War, Diplomacy, Human Rights, Elections, Democracy, Rule of Law, Ideology, Networks, Journalism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Europe, Iran, Soviet Union, West Africa, Syria, Senegal
  • Author: Floris Tan
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: This article examines an underexplored avenue for the protection of the rule of law in Europe: Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This provision prohibits States from restricting the rights enshrined in the European Convention for any other purpose than provided for in the Convention. In this contribution, the author argues, based on a combination of textual, systematic and purposive interpretations of Article 18, that the provision is meant to safeguard against rule of law backsliding, in particular because governmental restrictions of human rights under false pretenses present a clear danger to the principles of legality and the supremacy of law. Such limitations of rights under the guise of legitimate purposes go against the assumption of good faith underlying the Convention, which presupposes that all States share a common goal of reinforcing human rights and the rule of law. Article 18 could therefore function as an early warning that European States are at risk of becoming an illiberal democracy or even of reverting to totalitarianism and the destruction of the rule of law. The article then goes on to assess the extent to which the European Court’s case-law reflects and realizes this aim of rule of law protection, and finds that whereas the Court’s earlier case-law left very little room for an effective application of Article 18, the November 2017 Grand Chamber judgment in Merabishvili v. Georgia has made large strides in effectuating the provision’s raison d’être. As the article shows, however, even under this new interpretation, challenges remain.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe