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Abstract

While murder and mayhem have plagued humankind through the centuries, the bloody twentieth century proved that the state with its unrivaled power to organize the use of force has a particularly horrifying potential for inflicting violence. Vladimir Lenin’s militaristic definition of the state— ” special bodies of armed men” — was sadly prophetic.1 Strong states like Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia pulled together an overwhelming array of military, bureaucratic, and police resources to organize murder on an unimaginable scale. Even weak states like Rwanda were able to compile lists of Tutsis to be massacred and order the machetes needed to carry out the gruesome genocide of 1994.2 The historian of the twentieth century can recite a long list of states’ crimes against their own citizens, ranging from the genocides in Europe, Cambodia, and Rwanda, to the “disappearance” of opposition activists in Latin America, to the brutal repression of dissidents throughout the Soviet bloc.

Keywords

State Crime Transitional Justice Democratic Transition Legal Redress Soviet Bloc 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Vladimir Lenin, The State and Revolution, in The Lenin Anthology, ed. Robert C. Tucker (New York: WW. Norton, 1975), 317.Google Scholar
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  3. 4.
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    Bass similarly argues that liberal states are more likely to pursue a foreign policy that involves seeking justice for foreign victims of war crimes. It is logical that liberal democratic ideology would influence political elites’ choices about policies of truth and justice in both foreign and domestic affairs. See Gary Jonathan Bass, Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Noel Calhoun 2004

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  • Noel Calhoun

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