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Human Rights Violations after 9/11 and the Role of Constitutional Constraints

  • Benedikt Goderis
  • Mila Versteeg

After 9/11, the United States and its allies took measures to protect their citizens from future terrorist attacks.� While these measures aim to increase security, they have often been criticized for violating human rights.� But violating rights is difficult in a constitutional democracy with separated powers and checks and balances.� This paper empirically investigates the effect of the post-9/11 terror threat on human rights.� We find strong evidence of a systematic increase in rights violations in the U.S. and its ally countries after 9/11.� When testing the importance of checks and balances, we find this increase is significantly smaller in countries with independent judicial review (counter-majoritarian checks), but did not depend on the presence of veto players in the legislative branch (majoritarian checks).� These findings have important implications for constitutional debates on rights protection in times of emergency.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 425.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:425
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