Description: In this project I investigate the factors shaping compliance with international human rights agreements and I provide a definition of compliance, which goes beyond “ratification.” I argue that compliance is a multistage process, built upon three different steps: ratification/accession, implementation, and what I call “compliant behavior.” As an alternative to the dominant structural and normative explanation of compliance, I suggest that the factors affecting compliance are not only endogenous to state characteristics, such as the democratic/non-democratic nature of governments, but also exogenous, such as the perceived level of threat to national security. I offer a twofold theory that looks at leaders’ behavior under conditions of stability and instability and I suggest that under certain circumstances that threaten and pressure government leaders, state compliance with international human rights law becomes more costly. I suggest that regardless of regime type, threats shape leaders’ behavior toward international law; states are faced with the choice to abide by international obligations, protecting specific human rights, and the choice to protect their national interests. I argue that when the costs associated with compliance increase, because leaders face threats to their power and government stability, threats become the predictor of non-compliant behavior regardless of the democratic or non-democratic nature of the regime.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Aloisi, Rosa