The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Comparative Politics Workshop- Jake Dizard

The Paradox of Militarization: Abuse and Accountability in Mexico and Colombia

Mon, September 26, 2016 | BAT 5.108

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Abstract: How can democratic states ensure that militarization of public security is accompanied by accountability when soldiers commit rights abuses? An expanded internal role increases physical and legal risk for soldiers, and should boost the military’s influence as it lobbies for a clear legal framework and a broad scope for the military justice system. On the other hand, the rights violations that often coincide with militarization result in pressure by civil society groups, foreign governments, and supranational organizations to ensure justice by prosecuting rights violations in civilian courts. Given the dependence of elected officials on the military to implement ambitious public security policies, Mexico and Colombia appeared to be unlikely settings for accountability-enhancing reform. Process tracing focused on within-case variation suggests, however, that when activist campaigns can generate sustained international pressure and capitalize on a weakening of the military’s political protection, increased accountability is possible. Thus, militarization paradoxically produces the conditions that can lead to reduced military power along a key dimension of civil-military relations.

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