A major challenge confronting the U.S. and other international actors in transitional, fragile and post-conflict states is the creation of legal institutions for insuring order, preventing crime and dispensing justice.
Legal institutions must be created expeditiously to prevent the emergence of organized
criminal groups, vigilantism and terrorist activity. It is also important to create
mechanisms for resolving commercial disputes, protecting property rights, and promoting
internationally recognized human rights. All of these elements are essential for developing
a legal environment conducive to foreign investment and domestic legitimacy and support
by the population. Moreover, the promotion of rule of law in transitional and post-conflict
zones must be undertaken with due deference to traditional, customary, and religious
legal norms and institutions. This course examines these complex aspects of promoting
rule of law in turbulent regions and the challenges they pose to U.S. foreign policy.
This course will provide an overview to the origins and development of rule of law
in Western and non-Western cultures, and its relationship to human rights and democracy.
We will survey rule of law “lessons learned” from cases as wide-ranging as the former
USSR, Iraq and Afghanistan. We will then apply those “lessons learned” to assess current
developments in North Africa, the Middle East, China and elsewhere. Topics to be covered
include reconciling rule of law with traditional and religious cultural norms, anti-corruption
measures, combating narcotics production and trafficking, promotion of gender rights
and other human rights, working with NGOs and IGOs, resolving land and water disputes,
post-conflict reconciliation and distributive justice.