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American DiplomacyAbstracts
January-March 1998
Volume III, Number 1


(Please click on title below to read full text of article.)

The author, professor of international law at Duke University, draws upon her experience as advisor to the president of Rwanda since 1995 to recount the efforts made to bring justice to that gravely damaged nation in the wake of genocide. She outlines the tortuous route to the establishment, under UN auspices, of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), cites controversies over sanctions and penalties, and points to the myriad practical difficulties brought about by the near absence of a Rwandan legal system. The nation thus faces a daunting task in handling more than 90,000 criminal cases; Professor Morris notes that full trials of that number of defendants would be infeasible even in the wealthiest nations and is not an option in Rwanda.

Concurrent jurisdiction by the ICTR and the present Rwandan government further complicates the administration of justice. The performance of those two systems remains to be seen. As the trials began, “the best form of justice that the ICTR or the national courts will be able to render will be justice delayed.” The slowness of the process points to the need for 1) international assistance to national justice systems, and 2) delineation of the purposes of each international tribunals -- both in order to maximize the effectiveness of responses to crimes of mass violence.

Charles Stefan, a former Soviet specialist in the U.S. Foreign Service, traces in some detail the evolution of the manner in which Franklin Roosevelt viewed and handled relations with Joseph Stalin, with special reference to their two meetings at Summits during World War II. Drawing upon the extensive historical literature available on the subject, Stefan finds that FDR never harbored illusions about the nature of Stalin or the Soviet regime. Once Germany forced the USSR’s entry into the war, however, Roosevelt promptly recognized the vital role the Soviets would play in defeating the Axis. Stemming from this awareness, after Pearl Harbor, FDR sought -- with mixed results at best -- to develop a special relationship with Stalin comparable to the closeness he enjoyed with Churchill.

The author includes extensive historical assessments of FDR’s overall success in influencing the actions of the Soviet dictator. Mr. Stefan interprets the evidence as indicating that, following the Yalta Conference, a dying Roosevelt, ever the “creative procrastinator,” had reached no firm position on post-war U.S.-Soviet relations; he wished to defer any major decisions, especially as the atomic bomb had not yet been tested and Japan remained a formidable enemy.

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