Politics of Transitional Justice : Examining Arrests of Former Wartime Leaders as An Electoral Manipulation Strategy in Post-Conflict Countries
Sammanfattning: The systematic variation in arrests of former wartime leaders (including political/military leaders and those with commanding positions from both sides of conflict among other high-level wartime actors) in post-conflict countries have rarely been recognized and studied. Building on past literature that interlinks transitional justice with domestic politics, this study argues that the variation in arrests of former wartime leaders can be explained by elections and electoral manipulation theory. Amid the costs and opportunities associated with elections in general, I argue that incumbents also opt for arrests of former wartime leaders as an electoral manipulation strategy to eliminate political opponents and consolidate power in the guise of justice and, at the same time, minimize the costs associated with electoral manipulation tools. Hence, I hypothesize the arrest of former wartime leaders likely to be during the election period (the pre-election period, election day, and immediate post-election period). All else equal, the statistical test does not support the hypothesis while the complementary evidence from post-conflict Nepal and Sri Lanka suggest that presence (or absence) of justice in post-conflict countries is largely shaped by domestic politics. Similarly, few arrests in Sri Lanka and Nepal offer mild support to the theoretical expectations while few other arrests in Sri Lanka suggest that some arrests during the hypothesized election period are coincidental. This further questions the explanatory power of the suggested theory and findings.
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