Tag Archives: War / Weapons

Scholars’ Circle – Armenias have taken legal action against Azerbaijan claiming genocide and numerous violations of international law – May 12, 2024

Since 2020, Azerbaijan has attacked the Armenian people of Nagorno-Karabakh, or Artsakh, and in September 2023 ethnically cleansed them from their historic homeland.

Armenia has taken legal action against Azerbaijan claiming numerous violations of international law. What legal actions have been taken at both the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. What are the causes of action and what might the consequences and impacts of these legal actions be?

Armenia is under intense pressure to negotiate a permanent peace with Azerbaijan. How could this normalize and legitimize Azerbaijan’s aggression? And what does it signal to aggressors internationally about the likelihood of punishment for this aggression? [ dur: 58mins. ]

  • Tamara Voskanian is a cofounder of the Center for Truth and Justice (CFTJ), a nonprofit organization that documents atrocities and uses the evidence to bring perpetrators to justice. Last month Tamara represented CFTJ at the UN Committee Against Torture.
  • Talin Hitik is an international human rights advocate focused on seeking accountability for war crimes and human rights violations. She also has worked as a legal officer at the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the Permanent Court of Arbitration and has served at the Ministry of Justice of Armenia, managing the European Court of Human Rights litigation department. She was a professor of international human rights and humanitarian law at American University of Armenia and Yerevan State University and most recently, was an Academic Affiliate at the University of Michigan Law School.
  • Steve Swerdlow, esq. is Associate Professor of the Practice of Human Rights in the Department of Political and International Relations at the University of Southern California. He writes extensively as a human rights monitor for Human Right Watch in both the Central Asian region and in the Caucuses.

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Origins of War and Resolving violent conflicts – April 28, 2024

With wars still raging in Gaza, Sudan, and Ukraine, we return to an earlier interview on the origins of war. When and how did war begin?

While some have argued it evolved in early human behavior within forging bands societies, our guests say, that’s not true. Forger bands did not wage war. [ dur: 30 mins. ]

We continue this conversation by exploring how war and violent conflict might be resolved. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

Websites mentioned : University of North Calorina Greensboro studies of Peaceful Societies and an example of building a Peaceful society organization.

This recording was produced Nov. 2013.

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Determining genocide and other human rights violations of the law ; Dark side of democracy – April 21, 2024

April is Genocide Awareness month. Two of the worst genocides in history, the Hutu killing of Tutsis in Rwanda and the Ottoman genocide against Armenians, began in April. We explore genocide with two specific questions: Who internationally makes a determination that violence and atrocities are in fact genocide? And what if anything changes when there is a finding that atrocities are genocide?

We explore whether a legal approach is the best way to determine whether political violence and atrocities are genocide or is a political or social approach more effective. And does discourse on genocide crowd out discussions of other crimes, such as war crimes? We draw insights from history and contemporary issues. [ dur: 42mins. ]

When does democracy have a dark side? Our guest says that majorities can and do oppress minorities in the name of majoritarian democracy. [ dur: 16mins. ]

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – The Suffragist Peace: How Women Shape the Politics of War – April 14, 2024

The expansion of the vote to women throughout the 20th Century has had an impact on the discourses and politics of war and peace. What is the relationship between women voting, electing women leaders, and women-lead groups in civil society on the issue of war and peace?
Does the expansion of the vote to women lead to the election of women as leaders? And are these leaders more committed to peace than their male counterparts? We explore a new book, The Suffragist Peace: How Women Shape the Politics of War..[ dur: 58mins. ]

Book cover of The Suffragist Peace, classic painting with woman in center against war and suffering

Together they have authored The Suffragist Peace: How Women Shape the Politics of War

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – International Laws on occupation of territories and war crimes by state and non-state actors – January 21, 2024

What responsibilities do occupiers have in their occupation of territories? And is there a legal requirement to eventually end the occupation? [ dur: 28mins. ]

In the laws of war, countries do have the right to defend themselves. But what do those laws require in the process of waging war? How does this apply to Israel’s war in Gaza? And what legal rights do non-state actors have for self-determination? [ dur: 28mins. ]

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Henry Kissinger forging memorable trail of destruction when he pursued foreign policy for United States and others – December 16, 2023

Henry Kissinger was perhaps among the most influential people on US foreign policy and global events, fr which some consider him a war criminal. How should Kissinger be remembered? What does this answer say about the US in the world?

In 1979 Vietnam invaded Cambodia, a country ravaged by a war partly caused by US bombings, and overthrew the genocidal Khmer Rouge government. What have been the consequences of that decision? We explore the reasons for this invasion with the author of a new book.

This program is produced by Maria Armoudian, Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Which mistakes Israel is likely to make in Gaza and Book Author interview – A Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts – October 29, 2023

Rage and a desire for vengeance after 9/11 drove the US to violate human rights on a mass scale. What were those mistakes and what lessons do they offer to others dealing with political violence? How much does rage and demands for vengeance undermine peace? [ dur: 28mins. ]

  • Steve Swerdlow, esq. is Associate Professor of the Practice of Human Rights in the Department of Political and International Relations at the University of Southern California. A human rights lawyer and expert on the former Soviet region, Swerdlow was Senior Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, heading the organization’s work on Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and founding its Kyrgyzstan field office. He worked as a human rights monitor for the Union of Council for Soviet Jews (UCSJ) as their Caucasus monitor in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia as well as with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Russia.
  • Brent Sasley is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Texas, Arlington. He is the author of the book Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society and the book chapter “The End of Oslo and The Second Intifada, 2000-2005.”

Then, How much does race and class determine legal outcomes in the United States? What role does the prosecutor play in the justice system?
We speak with the co-author of a new book A Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts. Co-authors are legendary death penalty opponent Stephen Bright and legal scholar James Kwak. [ dur: 28mins. ]

  • Our guest James Kwak is a former professor of law at the University of Connecticut and chairperson of the board of the Southern Center for Human Rights. His co-author is Stephen Bright. He teaches law at Yale and Georgetown Universities. He was director of the Southern Center for Human Rights and won multiple capital cases in the Supreme Court.

From the publisher:
Almost 70 years ago Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote there “can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has.” In THE FEAR OF TOO MUCH JUSTICE: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts (The New Press; June 20; 2023), legendary death penalty opponent Stephen Bright and legal scholar James Kwak show the myriad ways the US criminal legal system fails to live up to this ideal of fairness: Innocent people are condemned to death and convicted of crimes because they cannot afford lawyers and because of the color of their skin. Racial discrimination in jury selection still lives in communities that have substantial Black and Latino populations. The mentally disabled are incarcerated instead of given the treatment they need, while the poor are processed through many courts with little or no legal representation in an assembly-line fashion. And many courts act as centers of profit whose main purpose is to raise money by imposing fines on the most vulnerable in their community and jailing them when they cannot pay.

But Bright and Kwak also see the promise of meaningful change on the horizon. They point to jurisdictions across the political spectrum that have made significant progress. The use of the death penalty has plummeted, and the authors see a future where it will remain in only the most ardent holdouts. Public defender offices that protect clients from wrongful convictions have been established across the country, and many places have reduced the use of cash bail and stopped imposing fines and fees on people who cannot afford them.

The book makes the case that prosecutors have too much power and defense lawyers are often out-gunned and incentivized to encourage plea bargains. How should the system rectify this? What is the first step in fixing this imbalance?

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Ethnic cleansing of Artsakh – October 1, 2023

Azerbaijan has attacked the indigenous Armenian people in an area known internationally as Nagorno-Karabakh, forcing them to flee from their ancestral homelands. Over hundred thousand have fled the region they know as Artsakh. Why has the international community failed to do anything to protect this population who left behind their homes, communities, belongings, and historical heritage?

Russia’s abandoned its role of protector of Armenians who are now victims to atrocities and grave human rights violations. And the US has failed to act on the warnings about Azerbaijan’s aggression toward the civilian population. What should now be done to address Azerbaijan’s campaign of ethnic cleansing and atrocities? [ dur:58mins. ]

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Peaceful uses of Nuclear power and why arms control fails humanity – September 10, 2023

We explore a new book on the peaceful uses of nuclear power: The Wretched Atom by Jacob Hamblin.[ dur: 29mins. ]

Then, why arms control discourses are centered around western notions of modernity and civilization. What does it mean to decolonize the language around arms control? [ dur: 30mins. ]

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – The future of Niger and Gabon after coup; Book: A biography of the judge who condemned the Rosenbergs – September 3, 2023

Africa has experienced numerous coups in the last 2 years. Most recently, Niger and Gabon have both seen civilian governments toppled by militaries in the last month. What does this mean for the future of African governance? Hosted by Doug Becker. [ dur: 24mins. ]

The life of former Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Irving Robert Kaufman is the subject of a recent book. He condemned Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to death. His life and times offer insight into how judges can sometimes act in unexpected ways in the pursuit of justice. Guest hosted by Tim Fadgen of the University of Auckland, NZ. [ dur: 24mins. ]

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.