Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science


Increasingly, around the world, individuals are being held criminally accountable for human rights violations (Olsen, Payne and Reiter 2010; Sikkink 2011; Kim & Sikkink 2010, 2012; Kim 2010, 2012; Sriram 2005; Lutz & Reiger 2009). Katherine Sikkink

(2011) characterized this change as a normative shift toward individual criminal accountability, which has resulted in a “justice cascade”, or a “revolution in accountability” (Sriram 2005). Much of the justice cascade literature has focused on the role of trials in democratizing countries. In contrast, this dissertation examines the impact of the norm of individual criminal accountability in two non-democratizing post-conflict contexts: Algeria and Turkey.

The dissertation examines two questions. First, how influential is the spread of the norm of individual criminal accountability in countries that have experienced gross human rights violations during civil wars? Second, what mechanisms can explain the emergence of domestic trials in these cases? Through analysis of data collected during fieldwork in Algeria and Turkey between 2014-2015, this dissertation focuses on the role of individual criminal accountability for enforced disappearances that were carried out in the context of civil war in both countries.

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