One of the policy instruments adopted by proponents of human security is formal trials, which are based on the liberal assumption that bringing those who commit any of the most serious crimes would ensure effective deterrence. This theoretical proposition rests on the liberal assumption that the threat of judicial punishment can help end or deter armed conflict and serious criminal violence because perpetrators and potential perpetrators are rational actors. Ultimately, judicial punishment and/or its threat are assumed to help transform war-torn or post-war societies into peaceful democracies based on the rule of law. However, it is far from clear that formal trials produce such positive effects. This presentation seeks to test the theoretical proposition. Methodologically, two cases are adopted for empirical testing: the Special Panels for Serious Crimes (East Timor) and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia. Findings do not strongly support the liberal proposition.
About the Speaker:
Dr Sorpong Peou is a Visiting Senior Fellow with the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and a Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University and a member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies. He joined the Department 01 July 2013 following a three-year term as Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Winnipeg (2010 to 2013), and served as Department Chair from 2013-2016. Prior to his appointment in Winnipeg, he was Professor of International Security at Sophia University (Tokyo, Japan) and Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Singapore). In addition to a PhD in International Relations and Comparative Politics from York University (Canada), Dr. Peou holds a Master of Arts (MA) in Political Science from York University (Canada), and a Bachelor of Arts – Honours (BA – Hon) in Political Science and Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Waterloo (Canada). Dr Peou’s research and teaching interests are generally in the fields of International Relations and Comparative Politics, with specialization in Security and Democracy Studies, and a focus on the Asia-Pacific region.