« Respect and disrespect in international politics: the significance of status recognition »

by dave
by dave

« Abstract
In our daily lives few things are as important to us as being treated with respect. Yet in International Relations (IR), we regularly assume that actors follow just their material interests or the social norms appropriate for their identity, without caring if the treatment they get matches their own sense of importance and worth. Drawing mostly on insights from moral philosophy and social psychology this article argues that even in international relations social respect can be a significant goal, both for instrumental reasons and as an end in itself. In fact, as long as we ignore this dimension of international politics we will be unable to fully explain major features, specifically the intensity and duration of many cross-border conflicts. To show the perspectives which systematic research on respect may open for IR, this article presents a theoretical overview of the chief factors that shape the reactions to respectful or disrespectful behavior.

To deserve, to acquire, and to enjoy the respect and admiration of mankind, are the great objectives of ambition and emulation (Smith, 2004 (1759): I, iii, 3).

If I’ve learned one thing covering world affairs, it’s this: The single most underappreciated force in international relations is humiliation (Friedman, 2003).

Not unlike persons or social groups in the domestic arena, decision makers, nations, and religious communities increasingly demand respect from their peers in the global arena – particularly from the United States, but also from other western states (Woodward, 2004: 312; Iweala, 2007; World Economic Forum, 2008: 131; Fathi, 2009). Apparently, the current US administration intends to heed such calls. At least, it vowed to show more respect in its policies vis-à-vis Islamic, Latin American, and European countries (Obama and Biden, 2008a, b; Obama, 2009, 2010: 11, 14), Yet, can such a reorientation make a real difference? Or is respectful behavior merely a matter of style with no substantial consequences for international cooperation? Unfortunately, to date, International Relations (IR) scholars have hardly started to ask such questions.

To lay the necessary groundwork for systematic research, this article presents an interdisciplinary proto-theory about the international impact of respect and disrespect. It argues that foreign policy decision makers have ample grounds for heeding the intuition that respect facilitates cooperation, while disrespect breeds conflict. To this end, I will derive concepts and hypotheses from insights and findings in other theoretical fields, especially from moral and social philosophy, sociology and social psychology. As will become clear, the experience of respect and disrespect touches upon many aspects of human interaction beyond cost–benefit calculations, which still figure prominently in mainstream IR. Unlike most IR topics, respect and disrespect cannot be properly understood without focusing simultaneously on an actor’s normative expectations, social needs and emotional reactions. The promise and challenge of respect research therefore resides in the requirement to systematically integrate these factors and the insights of related fields of research.

Respect, it will be argued, is particularly important because of the implicit acceptance that it signals for an actor’s rank. When the nature of the interaction confirms one’s self-ascribed value and importance, it promotes sympathy, trust, mutual identification, and open deliberation – all of which increase a cooperative attitude. Disrespect, on the other hand, challenges an actor’s self-respect or self-esteem by denying her the degree of esteem or attention she feels entitled to. It is usually experienced as an inacceptable mismatch between the social position one is assigned by the Other and the position one expects to deserve according to prevailing standards or norms. As such, disrespect tends to arouse anger and a self-protective urge to re-establish one’s ‘rightful position’. While these effects may be less strong among collective actors interacting in a thinner social environment such as the international system, there are sufficient empirical and theoretical grounds suggesting that they are strong enough to warrant systematic empirical research. As will become clear presently, these propositions often build on earlier works on recognition. In fact, they should be seen as a specific contribution to this broader problem.

However, in some respects I deviate from this tradition, both with regard to the conceptual underpinnings of recognition theory and with regard to some of its motivational assumptions. For two reasons, I put special emphasis on the status dimensions of recognition: first, by stressing the status effects of interactions I try to outline an argument that is particularly relevant in an IR context where highly unequal actors interact in a thinly institutionalized environment. Second, this emphasis on status also facilitates the application of psychological insights. An increasing body of research in social psychology uses the concept of ‘respect’ to analyze the close relationship between a person’s status perceptions, moral expectations and emotions. Hence, by applying this concept we can hopefully provide IR research with a solid micro-foundation that builds on systematic empirical findings.

Accordingly, the concept of respect I am going to use is intimately linked to an actor’s interest in the preservation of her social status. As I understand the term, an actor feels disrespected when others – directly or by implication – lower her rank or question claims on which she grounds her status position – as she herself perceives it! In this sense, respectful behavior is experienced as an appropriate confirmation of one’s rightful position, whereas acts of disrespect are seen as disregard for it.

Thus, compared to prominent conceptualizations of recognition, the semantic extension of ‘respect’, as it will be used here, is both smaller and wider: it is smaller in that it is strongly linked to one’s sense of entitlement. Hence, it covers only consideration (we feel) others must show. Recognition – as understood by Honneth and Taylor – goes beyond that point by extending to other, wholly subjective forms of positive evaluation, such as love. It seems self-evident that we always ‘owe’ respect to other humans, whereas sometimes we have greater moral discretion when it comes to recognizing other people. On the other hand, the extension of ‘respect’ is larger, as it also covers non-evaluative forms of consideration that confirm one’s sense of importance, and which are so relevant for international status. By including these dimensions, the concept can also be used for explaining conflicts that arise in situations where actors feel ignored, not being taken seriously, or being taken for granted. It is this non-evaluative dimension of status recognition which a Brazilian WTO representative and a Russian NATO ambassador had in mind when claiming that the essential benefits in confronting Western governments in trade negotiations and over Georgia, respectively, lay in (re)gaining the latters’ ‘respect’ (BBC News, 2003; Heller, 2010: 19).

A concept of respect that understands (dis)respect as (mis)recognition of an actor’s status can also make better sense of strong emotional (and sometimes wholly irrational) reactions to respectful and – even more so – to disrespecting behavior. Not every misrecognition of an actor’s identity will stimulate anger. Therefore, in my view, recognition theory is too indiscriminate to the extent it assumes that misrecognition of an actor’s identity will always provoke a negative sentiment (Taylor, 1995: 233; Ringmar, 1996: 80–83; Wendt, 2003: 511). When people exaggerate our social status or when they fail to recognize important parts of our identity narrative, which have no status implications, we may feel bewildered or surprised, yet we do not react with anger. Status depreciating behavior, however, regularly stimulates an instinctive response pattern that seems to be deeply engrained in the human psyche. According to evolutionary psychologists, a known tendency for instantaneous reactions against status challenges enhanced our ancestors’ reproduction chances – even though it sometimes entangled them into conflicts where its situational costs exceeded expected benefits. This goes a long way in explaining the ubiquitous outrage against disrespect and the instant desire ‘to get even’ with alleged perpetrators.

Contrary to Erik Ringmar’s theory of international recognition (Ringmar, 1996, 2002; see also Wendt, 2003: 511–514), which stresses actors’ epistemic needs, I claim then that struggles for recognition do not so much escalate because humans must get a particular Other’s confirmation for their identity, lest they feel insecure about who they really are. Instead, I contend that such struggles originate because, in a given situation, actors are quite certain about both their social status and about the fact that it justifies being treated with more consideration. Actors start such conflicts in order to get the treatment that they feel entitled to insist upon.

Given the need for conceptual clarification in a neglected field, the article starts with a thorough discussion of ‘respect’ and ‘disrespect’ before differentiating them from related concepts, such as ‘honor’, ‘reputation’, and ‘prestige’.

The section thereafter will discuss if and how insights on interpersonal (dis)respect can be applied to the level of international interactions. In the next section, I draw upon findings from social and political psychology to explain why respectful treatment increases the chances of cooperative behavior. This will be followed by a section that will present evidence and hypotheses indicating that the experience of disrespect breeds international conflict. In the section ‘Implications for future research’, I will discuss why respect has thus far received so little attention in IR, before presenting some methodological suggestions as to how it could be studied.

The meaning of respect
Most of us use the word ‘respect’ every single day in one of its various meanings: thus we talk about respecting the law, the risks of a polar expedition, the judgment of a colleague, the Catholic church, the achievements of our brothers, the rights of business partners, the presence of a neighbor, the needs of our students, and much more (Darwall, 1977; Hudson, 1980; Dillon, 2007b). In the US inner cities ‘respect’ has achieved special prominence as a signifier of social standing in a hazardous environment (Anderson, 1999; Bourgois, 2003). If there is one common thread in all of these examples, it is a rather thin one: giving due consideration to another object, be it natural, human, or institutional.

In an IR perspective, respect for particular actors seems to be both the most interesting and least researched aspect of respect. Problems of compliance, legitimacy, and acceptance have already been addressed by scores of international lawyers and political scientists. The same observation applies with respect to international risks and threats, which have also been extensively studied by a large number of security scholars. In contrast, respect for international actors, such as states, international organizations, movements, or individual decision makers, has been grossly under-researched.6 Accordingly, for IR the most useful definition of ‘respect’ might be gained from philosophical, sociological, and psychological writings that dwell on the respect that is given or due to other persons.

Towards a working definition of social respect
Building on Hegel’s early lectures on social philosophy, Axel Honneth has provided what amounts to the most elaborated theory of social recognition to date. Like Kant and Hegel, Honneth puts special emphasis on the importance of acknowledging other people’s rights. People cherish their rights not only for the particular opportunities and material benefits that come with them but also for the symbolic significance of these rights as indicators of social standing, which is even more important. According to Honneth (1996: Ch. 5), holding equal rights under the law means that we are socially accepted as fully autonomous persons. Conversely, being arbitrarily denied some of these rights can easily harm peoples’ self-respect as it implies that they are merely second-class citizens. (In the most humiliating cases, people may even be stripped of all capacity for autonomous action, thereby being reduced to mere objects without human dignity.) Being disrespected in these ways causes frustration and anger on the part of the individual. If similarly experienced by a large enough number of citizens, patterns of disrespect bring about collective identities, turning individual victims of discrimination into social movements fighting for the recognition of their equal rights. Accordingly, such interactions can be seen as instances of antagonistic identity constructions (Wendt, 1999: 328, 333) where disappointed moral expectations result in a form of negative altercasting that enhances conflicting elements of collective identities (which had been constructed in prior interactions with different actors).

As Honneth points out, a similar dynamic operates in the realm of self-esteem. Individuals may be particularly interested in being respected as legal equals. Yet, they also want society to acknowledge their specific efforts for the common good. Being denied this kind of recognition is a frustrating experience that tends to undermine people’s sense of self-worth. Again, groups struggling for general respect of their specific contributions or qualities will set (and keep) in motion a continuous process of evaluative disputes (Honneth, 1996: Ch. 5; see also Taylor, 1995). The ensuing ‘struggles for recognition’ may affect the dynamics of social transformation just as profoundly as contests fought solely for material benefits.

Although Honneth’s concept of recognition provides a very useful starting point for establishing the contents and dynamics of respect-seeking behavior, it largely ignores the non-evaluative dimensions of human existence that people equally want to see respected. Thus, simply being ignored or overlooked, be it on purpose or as a result of mere negligence, is perhaps the most hurtful form of disrespect. Indeed, it may hurt us more than a negative evaluation. Failing to catch other people’s attention in situations where we can reasonably expect to be noticed implies that we ‘do not count’. When people ‘look through us’, the way colonial officials often did with local servants, they deal with us as mere objects without any social meaning. Implicitly, such officials treated their personnel as utterly unimportant or as mere automatons whose reactions were completely predictable, thereby denying their capacity for autonomous action (at least in the presence of their masters). Such behavior compromises core elements of human worth which define the very dignity of persons. It is perhaps the most humiliating denial of respect (Margalit, 1996: Ch. 6).

Closely related to disrespect for our presence are the various other forms of hurting our sense of importance. Often, people may take notice of our presence but without giving us as much attention as we deem appropriate. They might acknowledge that we take part in a conversation and they might even listen to our contributions. Yet, in their own statements, they may hardly refer to our ideas. By failing to address our statements they indicate that our opinions are unimportant and that we ‘do not matter’. Again, this kind of aloofness can hurt even more than receiving a lot of critical responses to our statements. It seems that people want to feel important; they want to experience themselves as influencing their social or physical environment (Lachman and Firth, 2004). They cherish a sense of control even if others dislike their particular actions. Even adults sometimes act as enfant terribles when they sense a lack of influence or attention.

Finally, respect can also entail giving adequate consideration to other actors’ needs (Sennett, 2004: Ch. 2). Even when there is no clear obligation to help or support other groups or persons, simply ignoring their basic physical needs not only diminishes their welfare but also hurts their status as valuable actors who ‘count’.

For a working definition of social respect, we may thus conclude that respect is an attitude we expect others to show by the way they treat us. Because we cannot read other people’s minds, respect has to manifest itself in behavior towards us. When striving for respect, actors seek adequate consideration of their

physical presence,

social importance,

ideas and values,

physical needs and interests,

achievements, efforts, qualities and virtues, and


While giving full respect for the ideas and needs of others does not call for their active endorsement (but only for taking them seriously in debates and decision making), with regard to the last two dimensions ‘adequate consideration’ requires both taking them into account as important ‘facts’ and accepting them as authentic. Thus, even when somebody does not actively support my needs he can still fully respect me in this dimension by taking these needs into account. His attitude amounts to disrespect only if I also feel entitled to his support, that is, if he seems to ignore a relevant right.

Identifying respect and disrespect
As will become clear below, the crucial term in this definition is ‘adequate’, since those who seek respect and those who are supposed to grant it may profoundly disagree as to the level of adequacy. This gap may result from mere misunderstandings, from lack of information or from conspicuous differences of opinion. No matter what the particular cause, a perceived lack of respect can easily thwart cooperation and bring about intense conflict (see ‘Respect and international cooperation’ section). Therefore, by provoking anger and resistance an act of disrespect is usually much more conspicuous than respectful behavior.

Obviously then, the identification and measurement of (dis)respect cannot be guided by universal and objective criteria alone. Instead, such criteria must be tailored to the case at hand, that is they have to focus on an actor’s subjective expectations and understandings, both of which are strongly affected by cultural settings. While sometimes an objective observer may be able to determine an actor’s specific identity and status needs on the basis of official texts and other forms of self-representation (Abdelal et al., 2009), the degree to which such expectations are met by interaction partners fundamentally depends on that actor’s interpretation of its partners’ behavior. Therefore, the most conspicuous indications of disrespect would be verbal complaints by decision makers about the way they (or their states and nations) are treated by foreign officials.10 To assess the authenticity of such claims and the actual degree of disrespect experienced by executives, researchers can also look at ensuing decision-making processes for circumstantial evidence. A strong indicator for anger and other types of emotional arousal would be quick and premature decisions taken with little attention to material risks or consequences, missing information, or contradictory data (Rosen, 2005: 55). The level of perceived disrespect could also be gauged by the extent to which normative claims and rationalizations, such as the categorical insistence on legitimate rights or status claims, marginalize an actor’s strategic calculations concerning the possible material consequences of various options. Finally, the specific object of disrespect can provide an important hint: Ceteris paribus disregard for an actor’s achievements, views, faculties, or merits is to be considered a milder form of disrespect than inadequate consideration for its overall importance and rights.

Apparently, this approach to gauge experiences of disrespect is less useful for detecting and measuring the experience of (positive) respect. Of course, public officials may sometimes articulate their agreement with the way their nation and its representatives are treated – especially in more private settings. Or they may point out the absence of status disagreements. In general, however, actors are less prone to comment on a kind of treatment they feel entitled to. In this case, the experienced behavior is simply seen as ‘normal’. Accordingly, actors would feel less need to express their satisfaction. In principle, respect might thus be detected by the very absence of both complaints about disrespect and emotional styles of decision making. However, this method would be burdened by the well-known problems of proving negatives. A more practical approach to identify the experience of (positive) respect and to assess its level and impact would therefore focus on respectful behavior that corrects previous demonstrations of disrespect – for instance, when state representatives meet foreign demands for repeated and close consultations, for high-level meetings, for relinquishing alleged double standards, for more voting rights in international institutions, or for publicly acknowledging a country’s contribution to a common cause. In those instances, it also seems far more likely that respected actors would voice their interpretation of latest changes in their interaction partner’s attitude. When doing so, they will often put these changes into a larger symbolic context, thereby providing hints whether they now feel fully respected or still expect some further changes in another dimension of respect. Moreover, to gauge the experienced increase of respect resulting from such a change, an analyst could draw upon the previous level of disrespect assessed according to the approach outlined above. This might be particularly useful to investigate the short-term dynamic effects of respectful behavior as opposed to long-term level effects (see section ‘Disrespect, resistance, and conflict’). In fact, the Obama administration’s wide-spread efforts to correct America’s image as an arrogant nation oblivious to foreign interests (Pew Global Attitudes Project, 2005: 23), could provide useful material for researching such effects in various bilateral relationships.

‘Respect’ and related concepts
Obviously, this understanding of respect reveals many similarities and conformities with related concepts, such as ‘esteem’, ‘prestige’, ‘status’, ‘dignity’, and ‘honor’. Given the inherent vagueness of the term ‘respect’ itself, it is essential to discuss these other concepts in order to prevent some unnecessary confusion.

First of all, ‘respect’ needs to be differentiated from various forms of esteem, such as love and adoration, which can go far beyond an adequate consideration of some particular qualities based on normative expectations. Hence, most of us accept that it is entirely up to other people if they admire, love, or adore us. By contrast, we feel that others actually ‘owe’ us respect. When we subjectively meet relevant standards of achievements, virtues, etc., it must be granted to avoid ‘inadequate consideration’ (Dillon, 2007a: 203). Otherwise, we feel discriminated vis-à-vis similar people who get more positive attention.

This difference between respect and other forms of esteem has two crucial implications: on one hand, it makes clear that, as far as respect is the sole motivation, the subjective aspiration does not exceed the levels we deem appropriate in light of widely accepted standards of estimation. On the other hand, when being denied the level of esteem we think we truly deserve, we feel far more frustrated and annoyed than in cases where we would just appreciate some more admiration. This is one of the reasons why we often feel entitled to openly ‘demand’ respect, whereas it can easily become self-defeating to frankly ask for a higher level of appreciation.

In politics, the most important form of esteem is usually called prestige. Put very simply, enjoying prestige means being widely accredited with having achieved valuable political ends or with having special abilities for achieving such ends.12 Prestigious political actors thus are considered capable, important, and valuable (Markey, 2000). Obviously, this comes close to a common use of the term ‘respect’, for instance when we say of a legislator that ‘she enjoys the respect of her colleagues in the Senate’. However, this is actually a statement about the senator’s prestige or reputation as a capable politician, for we cannot know if she really deems the consideration of her achievements to be adequate. While she may get a lot of credit for her legislative record, she may think nevertheless that, based on widely applied criteria, she ought to get a lot more.

Honor is another concept that partially overlaps with the meaning of ‘respect’. Honor refers to an actor’s public reputation based on her public compliance with the code of a particular status group. Typically it entails norms mandating honesty, courage, calm composure, or generosity (Berger, 1970; Offer, 1995; Lebow, 2008: Ch. 2). The experience of (dis)respect, by contrast, largely depends on the relationship between others’ behavior and one’s own subjective expectations, in particular to one’s own standards of social worth and importance. Honor is based on the opinion of the broader social environment; it is not a specific attitude that a particular actor is supposed to display in a specific social encounter. In contrast, the experience of respect and disrespect intrinsically depends on an actor’s subjective sense of her self-worth and -importance. Accordingly, in some instances an actor may not feel disrespected even though somebody has tarnished her honor (or reputation or prestige): for instance, if she is well aware of the fact that the honor she publicly enjoyed was actually based on fraud or cover-up.

Like ‘respect’ the concept of dignity appears to be more in line with the social realities of highly individualistic and thus very heterogeneous societies. ‘Dignity’ delineates the core area of human worthiness as inter-subjectively defined by the prevailing culture. Usually, a person’s dignity rests on its recognition as an autonomous agent with a moral worth of its own (Dillon, 2007a: 207, 2007b; Kelman, 1977: 531). As the abstract core of human worth, dignity is not related to specific individual traits, characteristics, or biographies that actors also want to see recognized. Therefore, it is not really part of a specific identity but rather the foundation for acquiring one. Thus, even though everyone seeks respect for this inner core of self-worth, uncompromised dignity falls short of full respect.13 However, its violation is the most hurtful form of disrespect: humiliation (Saurette, 2005: 9). For nation states, this culturally defined core currently consists of their rights to sovereignty, to territorial integrity, and to freedom of development (Kelman, 1997: 187; Simpson, 2004: 54). National dignity thus largely coincides with a nation-state’s material interest in security.

To sum up, when actors expect respectful behavior they demand the level of consideration they feel entitled to on the basis of prevailing social norms. Being respected, therefore, is experienced as a dutiful social affirmation of one’s subjective sense of importance and worth in relation to wider society. Disrespect, on the other hand, is always seen as an unjustifiable denial of social rank, as a symbolic attack on an actor’s self-perceived place in and meaning for society. It thus may even be regarded as desecration of a ‘sacred’ self-image that an actor seeks to uphold by playing the role of her own priest (Goffman, 1967: 95). Not surprisingly then, psychological research has clearly established that both respect and disrespect can have profound consequences for the way a (dis)respected actor responds to her social environment.

From interpersonal to international respect
Obviously, the greater complexity and thinner interaction density on the international level complicates using insights from social psychology and social philosophy for IR purposes. Large groups and institutional actors need not react to respect or disrespect in the same manner as individuals.15 While states may often act like persons, they have neither conscience nor feelings (Neumann, 2004; Wendt, 2004; Wight, 2004). Moreover, psychological studies on the impact of (dis)respect tend to operationalize this concept in a more narrow way. These are important caveats one should bear in mind before making any rash predictions concerning state reactions to (dis)respect. However, as will become clear below, they hardly rule out making circumspect use of psychological findings for generating hypotheses concerning international contexts.

First of all, it should be taken into account that the concept of respect, as it is widely used in social psychology, does not perfectly match the concept of respect as it was defined above. Thus, the survey questions mostly used in research on procedural justice primarily focus on others’ appreciation of one’s group membership and on their respect for one’s ideas and work contributions, while seldom directly addressing respect for a person’s rights, personal importance, and needs. Although for leading researchers the subjective experience of ‘[r]espect reflects judgements about one’s status within the group’ (Tyler and Blader, 2001: 211), each particular survey and experiment captures just parts of the status dimensions outlined in the preceding section.16 Still, this does not invalidate the explicit suggestion of these social psychologists (Tyler and Blader, 2000: 198) to make use of these insights and findings in an IR context. Nor does it prevent their application for my specific project. There is sufficient overlap between the respect concept developed by social psychologists and the more encompassing one, which, based on the philosophical literature, I propose here for international interactions. In particular, both of them clearly focus on the self-evaluative and normative implications persons draw from other peoples’ behavior. Thus, the psychological research on respect also addresses the subjective status effects of interactions that are essential for the discussion here.

Second, most of the research on the effects of respect has largely focused on interactions within small groups. So far, there are extremely few psychological studies on the impact of respectful behavior across group boundaries, let alone on the effects on interactions between different bureaucratic communities or nations. It stands to reason that, in the latter condition, the experience of respect should be a weaker cause for cooperative behavior. Interacting groups often lack a common identity that otherwise serves the self-esteem aspirations of the group’s members. Thus, respectful behavior on the part of out-group members might be comparatively less valued for its positive identity implications (Smith et al., 2003: 160, 170). This ‘discount effect’ presumably is even stronger when groups with very different cultural backgrounds interact (Smith et al., 1998: 471 with further references). In this case, due to contrasting values and standpoints the experience of respect should be less valued for the information it provides for personal (or group) self-assessment (Turner et al., 1987: Ch. 4; Johnston, 2008: 9, 156). On the international level, therefore, reactions to respect or disrespect often will be less direct, spontaneous, and predetermined than in personal interactions (Wolf, 2011).

Moreover, one might seriously question if large groups or organizations can experience emotions (or their effects) in patterns established for face-to-face interactions. True, recent advances in Intergroup Emotions Theory (IET) have convincingly demonstrated that social groups, including large ones such as whole nations, may often experience common moods and emotions: Depending on the salience of group membership and the level of personal identification, physically remote individuals may feel exactly the same emotions as group members personally engaged in cross-group interactions (Mackie et al., 2008; Rydell et al., 2008). Yet, little is known about the impact of individual emotions on group processes (Kelly and Spoor, 2006: 313). No doubt, complex institutions mediate such effects. However, they will hardly neutralize them completely, but may even amplify them at times. As Hymans (2010: 462) has aptly put it: ‘states are not gigantic calculating machines; they are hierarchically organized groups of emotional people’.

These caveats notwithstanding then, many international reactions to respect or disrespect may be just as strong or even stronger than responses on the interpersonal level, depending on the intensity with which people identify with their nations, states and their leaders – and leaders with their states or nations (Bloom, 1990: 38, 81; Stern, 1995; Horowitz, 2000: 143–147, 181, 226; Johnston, 2008: 95–99). This seems particularly true with regard to collective experiences of disrespect. Norms demanding loyalty to the group can gravely inhibit benevolent interpretations of an out-group’s acts (Kelman, 2008: 175–177), thereby making collectives sometimes even more touchy about alleged insults than individuals. The history of nationalism is full of vivid examples. Evidently, a lot depends on how influential individuals frame the public interpretation of foreign behavior (Bloom, 1990: Ch. 4). Research on nationalism has repeatedly demonstrated that endangered oligarchies try to steer public emotions towards hatred for foreigners (Van Evera, 1994: 30–33; Snyder, 2000: Ch. 2; Kelman, 2008: 176). Moreover, even when threatened elites refrain from pouring oil into the fire, they need to accommodate ‘pressure from the street’ – just as democratic decision makers must systematically take into account status views of their electorates (Honneth, 2011). On top of this, international interactions involve many face-to-face encounters in which many scholarly findings on small groups are directly applicable (Kelman, 1965: 566). Often, political leaders experience hostile foreign moves as if they were meant as personal affronts (Steinberg, 1996) and will be inclined to react accordingly.17 Ultimately, it is for empirical research to determine how these mechanisms interact and to what extent and under what circumstances international behavior mirrors findings in psychology.

The focus of this article is on the impact of (dis)respect between small groups of key decision makers that represent interacting nation states, for it is on this level that all the various effects of (dis)respect should come to the fore. This applies first and foremost to the profound emotional consequences such experiences, particularly disrespect, may have on foreign policy decision-making.18 Unlike ordinary citizens, key decision makers are exposed to all causal pathways where (dis)respect can play a role:

  1. they can experience personal (dis)respect in face-to-face interactions with foreign leaders,
  2. they can feel (dis)respected as official representatives of their states or nations (or both),
  3. they can feel disrespected in their roles as (ordinary) citizens or nationals, and
  4. they may see some political advantages in acting upon (dis)respect experienced only by influential domestic groups or by the ‘masses’ on the street.

Obviously, these pathways will often intersect and interconnect. There can be various reinforcing and cross-cutting effects which cannot be detailed here (for a more extensive discussion see Wolf, 2011). For the moment, it seems safe to assume (a) that most leaders, in reacting to perceived (dis)respect, will not make a big distinction between the first three causal pathways and (b) that experiences of (dis)respect will have a greater impact

the more widely they are shared (by both leaders and domestic groups),

the less formalized foreign policy decision-making is,

the weaker the domestic political position of leaders is, and

the more attached a nation is to collectivist norms and honor codes which mandate the citizens’ loyal efforts to uphold the national image.

When the latter three conditions prevail, political leaders will be especially inclined to act upon emotional domestic complaints about alleged acts of disrespect. Under such circumstances, ‘pressure from below’ could well force a more confrontational stance on decision makers which personally do not sense any misrecognition of their nation’s international status.

Respect and international cooperation
Prior experience of respect increases the chances of cooperative behavior. This causal relation has repeatedly been established by social psychologists for small groups interacting in the workplace. As will be shown below, there are also good reasons for expecting a positive link between respect and international cooperation (for a similar claim see Larson and Shevchenko, 2010). Specifically, the experience of respect should promote mutual trust as well as solidarity and should facilitate bargaining over the distribution of common gains. Perhaps most important, mutual respect seems vital for creating the conditions conducive to a deliberative exchange of ideas over the best definition and solution to a shared problem.

Research by social psychologists clearly shows that the experience of respect promotes cooperative behavior. Both laboratory experiments and surveys of people’s experiences at the workplace demonstrate significant effects of respect on pro-social behavior. When people feel respected by fellow group members for their work and ideas, when they think they are accepted as group members, they demonstrate greater compliance with work norms, meet performance expectations to a greater extent, and show greater willingness to engage in extra work on behalf of the group. Moreover, respected employees also identify more strongly with their work group, which further promotes their pro-social activities. In fact, taken together with personal pride in the group, respect by fellow group members has a far greater impact on these kinds of pro-social behaviors than the amount of resources a group provides to its members (also Doosje et al., 1999; Tyler and Blader, 2000, 2001; Mercer LLC, 2008a: 14, 2008b). In line with expectations derived from procedural justice research, survey studies demonstrate that the subjective feeling of respect is strongly influenced by perceptions of fair and polite treatment, which people take as an indication of high personal status within their group. Institutionalized voice opportunities were particularly important in this regard (Tyler and Blader, 2000: 136, 171, 178). Not surprisingly then, respected individuals report significantly higher commitment to the success of their groups (Tyler and Blader, 2000). In the Mercer study (Mercer LLC, 2008a), employees from 22 countries named ‘being treated with respect’ as the factor that had by far the greatest impact on their engagement for their company. These survey results have been confirmed by laboratory experiments that simulated problematic social situations. When confronted with a public goods dilemma, students who felt respected by their group showed greater willingness to forego personal gain in favor of collective interests (De Cremer, 2002). Findings in social psychology thus clearly demonstrate that respectful actions and procedures promote cooperative attitudes and activities within a given group.

In addition to the recent advances in IET mentioned above, there are also specific findings that make it plausible that the pro-social effects of respect shown within groups may also be anticipated for interaction between groups. Research on stereotyping between different groups has shown that mutual agreement on the nature and valuation of respective group features affects the quality of intergroup relations: ‘[M]utual respect for the consensually shared stereotypes of each group’ promotes intergroup harmony, while a ‘mismatch between our self-stereotypes and the out-group’s stereotypes about our group, or a mismatch in the perceived valence of the groups’ attributes can lead to intergroup conflict’ (Wright and Taylor, 2003: 439). Moreover, research on subgroups sharing a common, if weaker, superordinate identity indicates that respect for those subgroups can significantly affect their members’ affective relation with the more encompassing group (Huo and Molina, 2006: 371; see also Smith et al., 2003: 167–170). What is more, once a weak sense of common identity has evolved, members of this new group become even more sensitive to positive signals received from the group. Indeed, respect shown by other group members increases one’s sense of belonging (Hogg and Abrams, 2003: 417), which, in turn, should make one yet more receptive to the pro-social effects of further instances of respectful behavior.20 Therefore, it appears rather plausible that respect can also promote transnational identification and thus may help to alleviate not only local but also international collective action problems (Wendt, 1994). Overall, it seems that self-enhancement effects reported by social psychologists should also operate in various cross-border contexts.

There are also more IR-specific considerations that suggest that different forms of respect can help to overcome the classic problems of international cooperation extensively discussed in the discipline. Respect can mitigate the harmful effects of mistrust, of differences over the distributions of gains, of the quest for autarchy, and of disagreements over the assessment of shared problems. In the first place, respect helps to generate and maintain higher levels of trust (Kelman, 2005). This becomes evident once we think of the implications of comprehensive respect. As defined here, adequate respect for another actor includes proper consideration of the latter’s importance, needs, merits, and rights (including privileges due to some special status). Feeling respected in all these dimensions provides important information on both the type of the current interaction partner and the social relation that one shares with it (Kelman, 2007: 73–78, 2008: 174). Thus, if an interaction partner has respected one’s rights over an extended period of time this should decrease the likelihood of its future defection, as continued compliance with cooperative norms tends to promote their domestic internalization via bureaucratic habitualization or identity transformation (Keohane, 1984: 111–116; Checkel, 2005; Johnston, 2008: 49–51). Respect that has been shown for another actor’s needs also tends to diminish the risk of a collapse of cooperation. Past awareness of the partner’s interests indicates a thorough knowledge of that actor’s stakes in the cooperative endeavor. This should lessen the potential for underestimating the partner’s reaction to defective moves and thereby should reduce the risk of careless unilateral moves (Kelman, 2005: 649).

Confirming another actor’s self-attributed importance, faculties, or merits also signals important information that tends to further trust on the part of the respected actor. Treating an actor in this way indicates that one basically shares her positive self-concept. Apparently, one esteems this actor almost as much as she does herself. This has two consequences for compliance with cooperative norms: First, it signals that cheating this partner would carry a higher price tag in terms of self-esteem. After all, all kinds of actors tend to especially care for the approval of those they like best (Turner et al., 1987: Ch. 4; Druckman, 1994: 60–62). Second, an actor that is highly esteemed by oneself may be assumed to enjoy considerable prestige in the eyes of third actors belonging to a common peer group. In this case, a cooperative association with the highly esteemed actor will also enhance one’s prestige among those other actors (Brennan and Pettit, 2004: Ch. 3). This should further enhance the interest in continued collaboration. Finally, as trust cannot be reduced to a calculation of one’s partner’s incentives but also must be seen as ‘an emotional belief’ concerning the overall nature of a social relationship (Mercer, 2005: 95–97, 2010), a history of respectful interaction will further enhance habitual confidence in the partner’s commitment to pro-social behavior. After all, when somebody continually treats us the way we deem appropriate, she also signals her firm understanding of and dedication to pertinent social norms (Kelman, 1996). True, depending on circumstances, each of these mechanisms can be rather weak. Taken together, however, they may well have a significant effect on trust in the cooperative intention of one’s partner.

This greater trust can in turn alleviate two other impediments to collaboration: relative gains concerns and the desire for autarchy. The latter is often due to fears that commercial partners could make political use of one’s dependence on some good or commodity. Under anarchy, this concern may sometimes induce even cost-conscious actors to forego the economic advantages of the international division of labor (Carr, 1946: 120–124; Waltz, 1979: 106; Mearsheimer, 2001). Greater trust among partners should thus make them more willing to tolerate vulnerability for the sake of efficiency. Basically, the same reasoning also applies to relative gain concerns, which also often result from fears that a partner may exploit its powerful position, in this case by transferring its bigger gains from cooperation into greater power resources, which he might then use against his erstwhile partners (Waltz, 1979: 105; Grieco, 1990; Mearsheimer, 2001: 52). Again, enhanced confidence in the cooperative intentions of the partner would directly affect the source of this problem.

Mutual respect should also make partners less concerned about the status effects that might result from a particular distribution of benefits. Frequently actors do appreciate material rewards not only for the material benefits that come with them, but also as symbols of their rank. In other words, they consider the distribution of material goods as a ‘test’ of their social standing (Honneth, 2011; Ross, 2001: 163). If, however, mutual respect implies mutual acceptance of each others’ status, cooperative partners can more often focus on the material gains for their own sake, that is, on absolute gains. Bargaining should thus become easier, as one motive for insisting on a bigger share of the spoils loses importance (Snidal, 1991). In some cases, a pre-existing consensus on relative status may even suggest an implicit formula for the division of resources or other benefits. For instance, the distribution of votes, high-level positions, or other kinds of privileges in international organizations may be facilitated by mutual acceptance of the states’ international status.

Finally, mutual respect is also vital for deliberative problem solving in that it facilitates mutual learning and persuasion and thus tends to make cooperative agreements both more attractive and more legitimate (Kelman, 1996: 106; Conover and Searing, 2005; Goodin, 2005; Lalljee et al., 2007: 453, 461). This applies above all to situations where a small number of officials or experts debate the nature of a common problem and the best ways to tackle it. In such settings, successful persuasion by the rational force of the better argument can only work when the persuadee is convinced that (a) he had a proper chance to voice all his needs and arguments and that (b) these points were seriously considered by the persuaders. Otherwise, the persuadee can hardly be assured that the persuader’s views really are more accurate. Moreover, mutual respect for importance, standpoints, values, and achievements is crucial for avoiding status conflicts in deliberative debates. As mutually accepted status difference facilitates persuasive efforts by the higher ranking actor (Chaiken et al., 1996: 726) and while mutually agreed status equality promotes mutual understanding (Hogg and Abrams, 2003: 420), domineering behavior and disagreements on relative status easily poison the open exchange of ideas (see Kelman, 1965: 570; Risse, 2000: 10, 17; Deitelhoff and Müller, 2005: 169–173; also Wright and Taylor, 2003: 438, 447). In fact, usually ‘inter-group relations are characterized by a struggle over status and prestige’ (Hogg and Abrams, 2003: 422) and actual intergroup encounters, especially intergroup bargaining, further accentuate competitiveness (Hogg, 2001: 193). Hence, it requires a high level of mutual respect to cleanse an argumentative exchange from such rivalry. Once respect becomes questionable, competitive group identities readily reassert themselves (Kelman, 2007: 78–80). As a result, factual issues and disagreements will also assume a prestige dimension, so that each ‘side’ is tempted to stick to its points ‘as a matter of principle’ in order to defend the group’s rank. Moreover, as the debate (again) becomes a competition over status this will further stimulate group salience and thus will also consolidate group identities. Arrogant or condescending treatment, in particular, tends to undermine personal self-confidence, thereby increasing both one’s attachment to the in-group and one’s dependence on the affirmation it can provide. This, in turn, stimulates stereotyping, polarization, and greater trust in the in-group’s views. As a consequence, confidence in the in-group’s value will rise. Yet, this comes at the price of blocking the unbiased appreciation of out-group arguments. Finally, the experience of arrogance or other forms of disrespect may further inhibit learning by provoking sheer anger which will further compromise rational reflection (McDermott, 2004a: 696; Huddy et al., 2007; Geva and Sirin, 2008). For all these reasons, mutual respect is a sine qua non for an open exchange of ideas required for jointly identifying the most efficient solution for a common problem. Therefore, it plays a crucial role in the search for more beneficial, more legitimate, and thus also more durable agreements.

These findings and insights can be summed up by the following propositions on the link between past experiences of respect and future cooperation:

Hypotheses on respect and cooperation:

H1: The stronger the respect between two actors, especially for their rights and individual needs, the less they will worry about their partners’ possible defection.

H2: The stronger the respect between two actors, especially for their rights and individual needs, the less they will worry about relative gains or about compromising their autarchy through greater dependence.

H3: The stronger the respect between two actors, the easier the parties will agree on the distribution of cooperative gains.

H4: The stronger the respect between two actors, especially their respect for each other’s achievements, faculties, and importance, the easier they will arrive at a common definition and solution for a problem at hand.

Disrespect, resistance, and conflict
Disrespectful behavior causes resistance and thus tends to intensify conflict. Forceful reactions to contempt or outright humiliation are the most powerful indicators of the social importance of respect. Just as with oxygen, being denied respect suddenly brings to the fore how vital the ‘stuff’ actually is. Thus, the majority of disrespected people and collective actors almost immediately respond with efforts to redress the situation. Depending on the subjective severity of the transgression (and the means at hand), those reactions range from verbal protest or defection from ongoing cooperation to violent retribution. At least three intertwined mechanisms contribute to these responses: the need to protect one’s public image, the desire to maintain self-esteem and self-respect, and the profound emotional effects of disrespect that exacerbate both negative perceptions and risk-taking.

Concern for one’s public image obviously stimulates open resistance against acts of disrespect. Open denial of respect can severely harm an actor’s reputation as a resolute defender of her interests. Therefore, condoning an open violation of her rights or needs may compromise an actor’s capability to deter or compel in some future crisis (Offer, 1995; Gould, 2003: Ch. 2). Hence, it seems rational to forcefully react to such provocations (a) the more obvious they are, (b) the wider the audience is, and (c) the more likely it seems that the offended actor will soon get involved in similar crises where future opponents could draw analogies from current conflict behavior.22 A second (and often related) motive for public resistance is the interest in protecting one’s soft power. In contrast to the concern for a tough reputation, this motive can also be affected by disrespect for achievements, standpoints, and faculties. Just as with a disregard for one’s rights, having these valued features overlooked or ridiculed can weaken an actor’s overall prestige and thus can diminish its chances for influencing all kinds of debates and negotiations (Nye, 2004; Johnston, 2008: 83).

Additional motives for such resistance, which evade rationalist theories, stem from actors’ needs to uphold their self-esteem and self-respect in the social arena. Individuals and groups also look to the symbolic value of public recognition (Harré, 1979; Ringmar, 1996: Ch. 3; Horowitz, 2000: Ch. 4–5; Lebow, 2008: Ch. 2). Being denied social confirmation of one’s rights, faculties, or merits usually is seen as an undeserved discrimination vis-à-vis those who are recognized in these respects for reasons which could also be applied to oneself. As such, this kind of disrespect can threaten an actor’s self-esteem in at least two ways: on one hand, it can amount to a denial of the social value of some specific feature which is of central importance to a group’s identity. For instance, playing down some of its historic achievements or denigrating one of its essential cultural values can put the very foundation of the group’s self-esteem into question (Taylor, 1995; Honneth, 1996: Ch. 5). As long as the group tolerates this affront it cannot be sure of the specific value it has for its social environment. To reassert its self-ascribed status, the group must resist this stance by engaging in a redefinition of historic memory or standards of evaluation. For instance, it can apply some broader cultural standards in order to convince the wider audience that an underestimated effort or achievement actually meets the superordinate criteria from which more specific criteria follow. If it prevails in this dispute it has also succeeded in reassuring itself of the value of its defining characteristics. Yet, even during such struggles for status recognition the group can already achieve part of its symbolic aims: the mere fact that the group starts an open fight for the recognition of its special features makes a public point concerning the great value it attaches to those features. It clearly demonstrates that it deems these features so important that it will not shrink from costly fights to defend their worth. Thus, in effect, by the very act of fighting the group partly pre-establishes the very public recognition it is still fighting for (Honneth, 1996: Ch. 8). In that sense, the group may value the struggle in its own right.

On the other hand, disrespect can also result from a refusal to acknowledge a group’s possession of a feature whose value is commonly accepted. For instance, an actor may fail to acknowledge a group’s economic prowess or may deny it the rights usually enjoyed by this type of group. In this case, the sufferance of undeserved status discrimination is even more obvious. Accordingly, this form of disrespectful behavior arouses an even stronger sense of injustice. It directly attacks an actor’s status as an equal, for it denies this actor the recognition that other actors with the same features routinely receive. Practically, this kind of disrespect amounts to the statement: ‘Although you may share the criterion in question with xyz, I do not give you the same amount of credit, simply because you are not xyz but abc’. This is a direct attack on an actor’s status and thus can hardly be condoned without profoundly hurting one’s self-respect. Once again, fighting for the equal rights that a group claims may come to be seen as an end in itself, for to some extent the mere act of fighting already establishes greater social equality, as it tends to force the transgressor to take that group seriously as an opponent that ‘matters’.

Severe instances of humiliation can be considered an extreme variant of this type of arbitrary discrimination and thus tend to evoke the strongest reactions (Saurette, 2006: 507). As outlined above, humiliation is an extreme form of denigration in as much as it strips an actor of its status as an autonomous actor with some intrinsic worth of its own. Often, humiliation is meant to reduce actors to mere objects with little or no control over their own fate. It thus challenges not only some specific rights or merits, but also calls into question an actor’s dignity, that is, its very quality as a subject of rights or moral qualities. In effect, humiliation often amounts to a statement that somebody is not worthy of having any rights or moral qualities. Accordingly, humiliation is the most blatant attack on an actor’s self-respect (Margalit, 1996; Lindner, 2006; Fattah and Fierke, 2009). It leaves little choice between putting up a fight and publicly giving up one’s claim for actor status.

However, resistance to open acts of disrespect may also be motivated by the fact that a strong reaction can directly reconfirm the victim’s self-esteem and self-respect, that is, regardless of any observers’ perceptions, judgements, or reactions. This becomes clear by looking at the implicit categorization effects of such interactions.

By initiating an open act of disrespect a transgressor signals that he considers its victim as the kind of actor ‘that can be dealt with in this way’. Often, this may be hurtful in itself. Still, the insult becomes even more cutting if the victim fails to respond, for if it does not even try to resist it actually confirms the transgressor’s judgment that the victim really is the kind of actor that can be dealt with in this way (Miller, 2001: 540–542 with further references). Practically, by not responding the victim leaves the definition of its social type to the perpetrator (Ringmar, 1996: 80–83). It effectively consents to its classification as a member of a lower status group. Even in situations without any significant audience, not responding to such acts entails considerable psychic discomfort, especially in humiliating encounters. If, however, the victim responds, the mere act itself implies a successful re-categorization.

Once more, resistance seems to be worthwhile just because of its expressive quality. This highlights yet again that actors experience disrespect as a reprehensible instance of altercasting that contradicts aspects of their self-image they hold as non-negotiable.

Finally, the emotional reaction to disrespect is likely to further intensify the urge for open resistance. The emotional path to a forceful retribution is perhaps the easiest to understand. Everybody has experienced strong emotional reactions after having been subjected to other peoples’ contempt. Anger and a painful sense of frustration seem to be the most natural effects of such encounters (Turner and Stets, 2006: 35). In fact, the link between insult and anger is apparently so strong that people routinely take anger as an indication of insult, when they try to make sense of their own behavior (Miller, 2001: 533; Solomon, 2006: 18). Outright humiliation often has the same effect. In both cases, ‘getting even’ with the offender may become an instant desire (Liberman, 2006; Löwenheim and Heimann, 2008). Less offensive demonstrations of disrespect tend to provoke less aggressive emotions (Miller, 2001: 536).

For instance, denying proper credit to a group’s achievements will rarely incite collective rage. Still, if such inadequate consideration is experienced over a prolonged period of time it is most likely to stimulate intense feelings of frustration and of injustice.

All three emotions, but in particular anger, are well known to constrain information processing and to promote strong reactions against the disrespectful actor (Tyler and Blader, 2000: 112; Miller, 2001: 532–536; Smith et al., 2003: 171; Van Kleef et al., 2008). Experiments have demonstrated that anger leads to negatively biased perceptions, reduces the demand for information, shortens decision times, and consequently leads to more risk prone and more aggressive behavior (Lerner and Keltner, 2000, 2001; Geva and Skorick, 2006: 214–222; Isbell et al., 2006: 65; Huddy et al., 2007; Geva and Sirin, 2008: 7; Van Kleef et al., 2008).28 The same effects can also be observed in inter-group relations when people categorize themselves as members of an offended group (Mackie et al., 2008; Rydell et al., 2008). While collective actors often may have institutionalized procedures mitigating these effects, by no means can such precautions fully neutralize the latters escalatory impact. The transatlantic row over Iraq provides many instructive examples (Gaffney, 2004; Szabo, 2004). Indeed, identity-related emotions can be expected to have an even greater impact in transformative situations, because leaders naturally succumb to such emotions when they cannot calculate the material consequences of far-reaching decisions (Hymans, 2006: 16–18).

Moreover, as pointed out above, even fully rational decision makers must respond to the emotional agitation of their constituents.

Both the fact that respect is not only sought for instrumental reasons, and the escalatory effects of emotional arousal, imply that in fighting disrespect international actors may go far beyond the escalation levels rationalist scholars would expect. Thus, the experience of disrespect may induce actors to bear much larger costs and risks in response to transgressions than they would be willing to incur for material considerations alone (Offer, 1995; Varshney, 2003; Löwenheim and Heimann, 2008: 692). This, in turn, can have three important consequences, which cannot be accounted for by rationalist explanations of conflict behavior. First, the experience of disrespect can lead to more intense reactions to a given transgression. In fact, it may even instigate a reaction where otherwise none would be anticipated (Larson and Shevchenko, 2010: 94). Second, such an experience can cause an actor to persist in its resistance over a surprisingly long period of time. Finally, and related to the first two effects, the experience of disrespect may bring about violent conflicts in cases where a rational calculation of material risks would rule out mutual escalation (Fearon, 1995).

In fact, an act of disrespect could even turn a costly war into a positive-sum game if at least one of the combatants comes to the conclusion that resistance to disrespect in itself is valuable regardless of the military outcome. This may go a long way toward explaining the fact that even very weak states rarely react to aggression with immediate surrender. Instead, the great majority of these victims choose to fight against all odds. A closer look at the respect dimension of social interaction could thus considerably enrich our understanding of military conflict. In fact, it might even help explain the origins and duration of wars which otherwise would remain mysterious (Fukuyama, 1992: 145, 255, 259; see also Welch, 1995; Ringmar, 1996; Lebow, 2008: 515–551; Lindemann, 2010).

Whether evident resistance to disrespectful behavior actually succeeds in (re-) establishing respect in the eyes of others is an open question, the answer to which largely depends on the relation between challenge and response.

In some cases of hateful humiliation even the most noble and courageous acts of resistance will not make the transgressor respect its victim. In general, however, the victim stands a good chance of success as long as it can tailor the precise quality of its response to the nature of the challenge.

As mentioned, disrespect for an actor’s importance may often be easily remedied by a mere act of resistance, which by itself forces the transgressor to take its victim seriously. However, even in this case, the victim needs to comply with norms of reasonableness as understood by the transgressor and the wider audience. An overly aggressive reaction might re-establish the victim as an important actor, yet, at the same time, such an unrestrained application of violence may earn it new disrespect for its immoral conduct. Gaining due recognition for one’s rights, standpoints, special achievements, or faculties usually requires even more circumspect reactions. Such acts must not only stay within the bounds of proportionality, they also need to successfully appeal to normative or evaluative standards held by those whose respect is sought. They must also address the audience in a respectful manner! Otherwise, resistance will not bring the audience to re-evaluate the feature(s) that had been denied proper appreciation. To be effective a struggle for respect depends on careful consideration of prevailing social norms and standards of evaluation.

A number of hypotheses follow from the mechanisms just described. All of them presuppose that the (individual or collective) victim has come to the conclusions (a) that the behavior in question must be interpreted as an act of disrespect and (b) that the offending actor anticipated this interpretation. (The term ‘disrespectful behavior’, as it is used below, can relate to both disrespectful acts and mere denials of adequate consideration.)

Hypotheses on disrespect and conflict:

H5: Disrespectful behavior will incite or intensify resistance to the transgressor (ranging from verbal protests to a halt to cooperative efforts to violent forms of retribution).

H6: The wider the relevant audience that witnessed a provocative act, the less likely the victim is to give in before it has achieved effective rehabilitation.

H7: Disrespectful behavior that apparently was consciously tailored to come across as such will incite more forceful reactions than behavior of actors, which apparently did not care about the symbolic connotations of their behavior.

H8: Disrespect for an actor’s achievements, standpoints, faculties, or merits will lead to protest reactions that are less forceful and more norm-governed than reactions to disrespect for an actor’s overall importance or rights.

H9: The stronger the symbolic link between the disrespectful behavior and essential elements of the victim’s status concept, the more forceful and the more disregarding of material costs the reaction will be.

H10: The more humiliating the act of disrespect (that is the more directly it is targeted against the victim’s quality as an autonomously acting moral entity), the more forceful and reckless of both material costs and social norms the reaction will be.

Implications for future research
An analysis of all the likely effects of (dis)respect in international relations provokes the obvious question: if respect and disrespect affect interactions in so many ways, why have IR scholars neglected them for so many years? First, it hardly needs elaboration that, most of the time, being respected concerning one’s rights, values, achievements, faculties, and social importance is also useful in material terms. In this way, self-evaluative motives for respect-seeking behavior may simply ‘hide’ behind conspicuous material interests. Hence, in a given case it may be very hard to distinguish between self-evaluative and material incentives. Second, the greater progress of that other social science, economics, induced political scientists to emulate the methods and ontology of their sister discipline (Brennan and Pettit, 2004; Mercer, 2005), and thus to privilege material incentives and expected utility models over identity needs and social meaning. Thus, in case of doubt, rational-materialist explanations took precedence over accounts focused on symbolic interests and social processes. Contemporary scholars therefore readily attribute an escalation of a conflict to an escalation of risks or to an increased interest in the contested material resources, instead of looking for additional incentives rooted in an actor’s identity needs. In this way, many social scientists almost habitually take it for granted that once they have found a plausible explanation based on material incentives there is no further need to look for other motivational factors that might also be involved.

To be sure, the fact that material gains can also enhance an actor’s self-esteem should be no reason for treating symbolic needs as the chief motivation throughout. Instead, we have to look for heuristic tools that can help us determine the relative impact of different, yet related kinds of incentives. Fortunately, there are indeed some scenarios where analytical differentiation is possible (Wolf, 2008). For instance, respect motivations are likely to play a role:

when groups fight costly wars without any reasonable chance of success,

when retaliation is directed chiefly against targets of symbolic meaning rather than against objects with some strategic value,

when resisting actors carefully comply with general standards of acceptable behavior instead of consciously targeting the opponent’s weakest spot,

when actors insist on voice opportunities, although they are fully aware that expressing their concerns will not yield additional influence.

Another analytical tool would be detailed investigations of respect effects on foreign policy decisions. For example, it would be worthwhile to study possible covariations between experiences of (dis)respect and the hardening/softening of bargaining positions. As indicated in section ‘The meaning of respect’ of this article, usually, the experience of disrespect is more apparent than the experience of respect. Thus, efforts to ascertain the influence of this variable should probably start with the potential impact of disrespect by investigating the reactions to conspicuous cases of inadequate consideration. If the above-mentioned hypotheses on (dis)respect and conflict behavior are valid, we should observe both synchrone and diachrone covariations: within a group of decision makers the more offended officials should be less accommodating to the offending state than their colleagues, while in the wake of disdainful treatment, state leaderships as a whole should be less accommodating than before.

To determine actual causal links between (dis)respect and policy outputs, such within-case comparisons could be complemented with process tracing. Such studies should focus both on the intra-mural justification of decisions and on the process of collective reasoning. Concerning the former, researchers would try to establish the nature of the arguments that silenced the minority position(s). If disrespect was a decisive factor in the process, we would expect that normative claims and rationalizations, such as the categorical insistence on legitimate rights or status claims, carried the day against strategic calculations that concerned the possible material consequences of different options. Moreover, a researcher could look for circumstantial evidence for the influence of anger on the intricate process of decision making. Strong indicators of anger and other types of emotional arousal would be quick and premature conclusions, especially conclusions that were reached without giving much attention to material risks or consequences, missing information or contradictory data. Further symptoms of the effect of anger would be the selective recall of previous upsetting experiences as well as the biased attention to negative aspects of the opponent’s current behavior (Rosen, 2005: Ch. 2; Geva and Skorick, 2006: 214, 224). Distinguishing the impact of respect motivations may thus be a demanding task, but also one that is far from hopeless.

In light of the fact that respect has been thoroughly neglected by past IR scholarship, the immediate research agenda calls for studies that would clarify whether (dis)respect is sufficiently important to warrant both wider and more elaborate research efforts. This should be established by plausibility probes focusing on most likely cases where researchers have easy access to internal records. Such studies would have to concentrate on bilateral relationships among autonomous powers characterized by (1) an ambivalent pattern of past interactions (rather than by a long history of friendship or rivalry that could largely attenuate the effect of disrespect) and (2) by a dynamic and ambiguous evolution of power and other potential status markers (which would render decision makers more sensitive to conflicting views on relative status). Within such bilateral relationships analysts would need to focus on the decision making of ascending, nationalistic powers with authoritarian systems, since the political elites of such states would probably be more eager for foreign respect than would be the decision makers of established democratic powers (Rosen, 2005: Ch. 5). Suitable case studies might therefore include Imperial Germany’s policy towards Britain, Japan’s pre-war policy towards the United States, and the Soviet Union’s policy during the Cold War, as well as China’s current relationship with the United States. If such plausibility probes were to prove a substantial impact of (dis)respect on foreign policy decision making, later studies should focus on interaction effects, particularly between states but also between states and other international actors, such as international organizations, NGOs, and even terrorist organizations.

Finally, for the sake of practical relevance, such a research agenda should not disregard the potential costs and disadvantages of respectful behavior. Given the benefits of mutual respect and the risks inherent in acts of disrespect some might regard respectful conduct not only as a moral duty but also as a political panacea. However, even if future research were to prove that respect is a powerful variable this would hardly imply that treating foreign actors with more respect will always serve national goals. Such a notion would be oblivious to the manifold costs respectful behavior can entail.

First of all, as we all know from daily experience, duly appreciating other peoples’ achievements, perspectives, or importance consumes time that could be used for other purposes. Fully respecting their rights and needs may also cost money or other material resources. Second, giving others our thorough attention definitely means that we have less attention available for third parties or other issues. Third, respecting other actors, even when it just means paying attention to them, further opens us to their influence. Thus, respect can result in a transfer of power or control. Fourth and related, showing great respect for someone else can lead to misunderstandings by inadvertently overinflating an actor’s positive self-image.

Thereby it can blur status differences and hence complicate negotiations or decision making. Fifth, giving more consideration to the status of a given state may offend one of its rivals. Finally, satisfying another state’s respect expectations may run counter to the prestige ambitions or enemy images of domestic groups and consequently compromise the executive’s domestic standing (Kelman, 2008: 178). While some of these costs may be avoidable and some of them may be tolerated in exchange for the beneficial effects of mutual respect, they may still be significant.

This, of course, should be seen as yet another reason for carefully investigating the relative significance of showing more respect across borders. »

Wolf, R. (2011). Respect and disrespect in international politics: The significance of status recognitionInternational Theory, 3(1), 105-142.

by dave

Lectures supplémentaires / complémentaires – Partages / Curiosités / Invitation(s) au voyage :

  • Viewing Rooms
  • Carnet : Retour sur le rapport du Groupe d’action contre le racisme : Le GARC pourra-t-il avoir un réel impact sur les luttes contre les discrimination et le racisme systémiques? – Un carnet rédigé par Diane Lamoureux, militante au comité racisme, exclusion sociale et laïcité de l’État de la LDL.
  • Maffesoli, M. (1993). The Imaginary and the Sacred in Durkheim’s SociologyCurrent Sociology41(2), 59–67.
  • Elite Participation in the Third Crusade, by by Stephen Bennett
    • [summary : « The motivations behind those who went on the Third Crusade examined through close investigation of their social networks. » – « This book analyses the communal and cultural factors that influenced nobles from north-western Europe who embarked on the Third Crusade, bringing out the motives, dynamics, and extent of their participation, and placing that participation in the broader social and geographical context of crusading and medieval life. It shows that significant numbers of them were themselves descended from crusaders, and that the majority of them travelled to the Levant in the company of friends, family, and neighbours, as well as through membership of a military household. It also highlights the role of key individuals – both male and female – who influenced the decision to undertake the crusade, and identifies the significant role played by particular religious institutions in the diffusion of crusading ideology. »]
  • Transparency is Not Enough to Stem Tide of Pharma Influence on Medicine, by Jenny Logan
    • [extraits : « Disclosure is necessary but not sufficient to address the damage that industry relationships cause to medical knowledge and public health » – « The problem of conflicts of interest in the medical field has been widely reported, despite industry efforts to downplay, rename, or hide the evidence. The field of psychiatry is no exception. At its extreme limit, financial conflicts of interest may result in inappropriate prescribing of medications and the creation of diagnostic constructs to develop markets for new drugs. Conflicts of interest (COIs) are also prevalent in psychotherapy research, where disclosure is far less common than in other fields. » – « But just like on Wall Street, where mandated disclosure of conflicts of interest failed to alter the course of insider behavior that had already produced a long history of market scandals, the Sunshine Act caused no change in behavior in the medical profession. » – « Despite robust, consistent results showing that payments to physicians degrade rational prescribing, there is no evidence that physician behavior regarding conflicts of interest has changed,” Lexchin and Fugh-Berman write. » – « No effective policies have been enacted to restrict financial COI. Medical journals do not use Open Payments to vet authors or reviewers, and universities do not sanction physicians for COI. » – « Further, there has been no change in consumer and patient behavior. Consumers rarely seek information about physicians, even when such information is crucial to their health, and generally show a forgiving attitude about the effects of financial COI. Somewhat perversely, the disclosure of COI may actually increase trust. Transparency, while necessary, is thus not a sufficient solution to the problem of physician-industry COI. » – « What is needed, the authors suggest, is a serious effort to eliminate financial COI. Some measures have already proven successful at decreasing COIs, such as limiting interactions between students and trainees and pharmaceutical companies. Other authors have suggested reforms to eliminate all gifts, free meals, and travel payments. » – « “All of these changes,” Lexchin and Fugh-Berman write, “need to be accompanied by a strong and ongoing endorsement from the leadership in the medical community” to protect the influence of money on physicians’ ability to deliver quality care to patients.« ]
    • Lexchin, J. and Fugh-Berman, A. (2021). “A Ray of Sunshine: Transparency in Physician-Industry Relationships is Not Enough.” Journal of General Internal Medicine.
  • Bloomsbury Philosophy Library
  • B. Mbokani, J. (2020). La rétroactivité des lois pénales de mise en œuvre du Statut de Rome dans le contexte de la République démocratique du Congo : un bon vieux vin dans des outres neuves: (Suite et fin). Revue de science criminelle et de droit pénal comparé, 4(4), 887-907.
    • [extraits : « La Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme : L’article 11(2) de la DUDH dispose que « nul ne sera condamné pour des actions ou omissions qui, au moment où elles ont été commises, ne constituaient pas un acte délictueux d’après le droit national ou international […] ». La formulation de cette disposition intègre ainsi explicitement les normes du droit international comme source d’incriminations. En conséquence, le fait de poursuivre et de punir un individu pour un acte qui, au moment où il a été commis, ne constituait pas une infraction selon le droit national, mais l’était selon le droit international, ne viole pas cet article 11(2). Rappelons qu‘il ne faut pas se méprendre sur l’intitulé de ce texte international. Il s’agit certes d’une « déclaration » adoptée par la résolution 217 (III) A de l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies le 10 décembre 1948. Il ne s’agit donc pas d’un Pacte ni d’un traité ou d’une convention internationale. Dans la mesure où les déclarations de l’Assemblée générale ne sont en principe pas dotées de force contraignante envers les États, l’on pourrait penser que la DUDH relève du soft law. Cette approche appelle toutefois quelques nuances. La DUDH n’est pas un instrument de soft law comme les autres. En effet, comme on l’a vu, elle est invoquée dans la plupart des Constitutions États qui proclament leur adhésion et leur attachement à cet instrument international. D’autres États, comme la République du Congo (Brazzaville), vont même plus loin au point d’affirmer que ce texte international fait partie intégrante de leur Constitution. Il n’est dès lors pas surprenant que la CIJ ait considéré que bien que la DUDH était conçue comme un idéal à atteindre en 1948, les États la tenaient pour un instrument exprimant, à tout le moins en partie, du droit international coutumier.  Dès lors que le droit coutumier lie incontestablement les États, ramener la DUDH à un simple instrument du soft law se révèle discutable. » – « S’il est vrai qu’à « vin nouveau, des outres neuves » et que « le vieux vin est le meilleur », l’on peut donc s’attendre à ce qu’un bon vieux vin soit contenu dans des outres neuves. Les meilleures choses ne doivent-elles pas être conservées dans des récipients sûrs ? Dans une telle situation, la nouveauté des outres n’implique pas nécessairement celle du vin que contiennent ces outres.  Cette métaphore biblique était certes destinée à combattre « l’esprit pharisien » dans la réception du message du Christ. Les pharisiens étaient en effet ceux que le poids des traditions empêchait de comprendre la profondeur du message évangélique qui n’est pas figé dans le temps. La même métaphore est également appropriée pour la détermination du cadre juridique de la répression des crimes de droit international visés par une législation qui incorpore de tels crimes en droit interne. Dans les États comme la RDC où la législation nationale en vigueur au moment de la commission de tels crimes était beaucoup moins claire que ne l’étaient les normes de droit international alors applicables, l’on peut en effet se demander si la législation adoptée ultérieurement pour mettre en œuvre les normes internationales peut s’appliquer rétroactivement à ces crimes du passé. La réponse à cette question exige d’opérer une distinction entre, d’un côté, la nouveauté formelle de la loi qui, dans ce cas précis, sert de contenant, à l’instar d’une outre, et de l’autre côté, de la nouveauté substantielle de la norme pénale formulée par cette loi, à l’image d’un bon vieux vin qui serait contenu dans une outre. La distinction ainsi opérée entre le contenant et le contenu conduit au constat suivant : le principe de la non-rétroactivité des lois pénales, dans sa dimension formelle, ne devrait pas être applicable aux législations pénales incorporant en droit interne les crimes de droit international coutumier. En réalité, dès lors que la norme pénale formulée dans cette législation formellement nouvelle existait déjà en droit international pénal au moment de la commission des actes, la non-rétroactivité des lois pénales, dans sa dimension substantielle, demeure respectée. En effet, au moment de leur commission, les faits étaient tenus pour criminels par le droit international. Tel un bon vieux vin contenu dans des outres neuves, la nouveauté formelle d’une législation pénale n’implique pas nécessairement sa nouveauté substantielle lorsque sont en cause les crimes de droit international coutumier. Dès lors que le principe de la non-rétroactivité de la loi pénale se rapporte beaucoup plus à sa dimension substantielle qu’à sa dimension formelle, il s’ensuit qu’une loi formellement nouvelle peut s’appliquer rétroactivement à des faits qui lui sont antérieurs dès lors que cette loi n’est que déclarative des normes pénales préexistantes au moment des faits. Les lois congolaises de mise en œuvre du Statut de Rome offrent précisément une illustration concrète de ce type de lois formellement nouvelles (2015), mais qui ne font que formuler des normes de droit international qui étaient déjà applicables plusieurs décennies plus tôt. Ainsi, en raison des particularités propres à ces lois, le principe de la non-rétroactivité des lois pénales ne s’oppose pas à ce qu’elles soient appliquées de manière rétroactive aux crimes qui leur sont antérieurs. C’est en effet l’âge du vin qui devrait préoccuper et non celui des outres. Car, on est censé déguster et boire le bon vieux vin et non les outres, aussi neuves soient-elles. »]
  • Bitti, G. (2020). Droit pénal international. Revue de science criminelle et de droit pénal comparé, 4(4), 1027-1068.
    • [extraits : « À ce jour, deux États seulement ont mené à terme la procédure de retrait du Statut, à savoir la République des Philippines et le Burundi (au mois d’octobre 2017). Deux autres États, la Gambie et l’Afrique du Sud, avaient entamé une procédure de retrait du Statut en 2016 mais ont par la suite « retiré leur retrait » en 2017. Le groupe des États d’Afrique, avec 33 États, est toujours le groupe le plus important au sein de l’Assemblée des États parties au Statut ; viennent ensuite le groupe des États d’Amérique latine et des Caraïbes (28 États), le groupe des États d’Europe occidentale et autres États (25 États), puis le groupe des États d’Asie (19 États) et enfin le groupe des États d’Europe centrale et orientale (18 États). En ce qui concerne les situations pour lesquelles le Procureur conduit un examen préliminaire, première phase dans la procédure devant la CPI et qui précède celle de l’ouverture d’une enquête, le rapport du Bureau du Procureur (ci-après, le « BDP ») a été présenté le 5 décembre 2019 (ci-après, le « Rapport sur les examens préliminaires en 2019 »), rapport qui comporte de nombreuses nouveautés et notamment, pour la première fois dans l’histoire du BDP, une présentation de situations en phase 1 de l’examen préliminaire, examen qui comporte quatre phases successives en application du document de politique générale du BDP sur les examens préliminaires qui date de novembre 2013. Le BDP précise d’abord qu’il a reçu entre le 1er novembre 2018 et le 31 octobre 2019, 795 communications au titre de l’article 15 du Statut. Le BDP présente ensuite quatre situations pour lesquelles il a conclu, pendant la phase 1 de l’examen préliminaire, que « les crimes présumés en question ne semblaient pas relever de la compétence de la Cour ». La première situation présentée concernait une communication selon laquelle le dirigeant suprême de République populaire démocratique de Corée (ci-après, la « Corée du Nord ») serait responsable d’un certain nombre de crimes graves relevant de la compétence de la Cour. Même si ce pays n’était pas un État partie au Statut, il était allégué que la Cour pouvait exercer sa compétence en vertu de l’article 12-2-b du Statut puisqu’en application de la législation sud-coréenne, les ressortissants de la Corée du Nord pouvaient être considérés comme des ressortissants de la République de Corée (ci-après, la « Corée du Sud ») qui, elle, était un État partie au Statut. Le BDP a cependant conclu que la « prétendue possession de jure de la nationalité sud-coréenne par les Nord-Coréens à la naissance devrait plutôt être considérée comme « théorique », puisque, dans les faits, sa reconnaissance par la Constitution ne semble pas se traduire par la possession automatique de cette nationalité sud-coréenne ». Le BDP a donc conclu qu’il ne pouvait invoquer cette reconnaissance théorique de nationalité prévue par la Constitution de la Corée du Sud pour exercer sa compétence ratione personae relativement aux faits commis par des ressortissants de la Corée du Nord. La deuxième situation, toujours en phase 1 de l’examen préliminaire, concernait également la Corée du Nord et plus précisément la situation de milliers de ses ressortissants qui seraient soumis par les autorités nord-coréennes à des travaux forcés à l’étranger qui constitueraient, selon la communication qui avait été présentée au BDP, le crime contre l’humanité de réduction en esclavage. Les crimes ayant été commis sur les territoires d’un certain nombre d’États parties au Statut, il était allégué que la Cour pouvait exercer sa compétence sur ces crimes. Le BDP a cependant conclu que « même si les travailleurs nord-coréens envoyés dans des États parties sont prétendument soumis à des privations de liberté ainsi qu’à des conditions et des pratiques de travail assimilables à de l’exploitation, il ne semble pas que leur situation, globalement, soit comparable aux conditions d’esclavage ou constituent un crime de réduction en esclavage visé à l’article 7-1-c du Statut ». » – « La quatrième et dernière situation, toujours en phase 1 de l’examen préliminaire, concernait le Yémen. Le BDP avait ainsi reçu une communication alléguant que des ressortissants d’États parties, engagés en tant que mercenaires, auraient commis des crimes de guerre dans le conflit en cours au Yémen (cet État n’étant pas un État partie au Statut de la CPI, la compétence de la Cour est donc limitée, en application de l’article 12-2 du Statut, aux crimes éventuels commis par des ressortissants d’États parties au Statut). Le BDP a cependant conclu que, compte tenu des informations à sa disposition à ce stade, il ne semblait pas que des crimes relevant de la compétence de la Cour aient été commis par des ressortissants d’États parties engagés à titre de mercenaires, ou que ces derniers aient été impliqués dans de tels crimes. Le BDP a cependant précisé qu’il avait reçu d’autres communications sur d’autres aspects du conflit au Yémen. » – « En effet, les situations concernant l’Ukraine et les Philippines, qui étaient en phase 2 de l’examen préliminaire en 2018, sont passées en 2019 en phase 3 de l’examen préliminaire, phase qui concerne l’examen de la recevabilité. Quant à la situation au Bangladesh/Myanmar, qui était en phase 2 de l’examen préliminaire en 2018, elle est désormais sortie de la phase de l’examen préliminaire depuis la décision de la Chambre préliminaire III du 14 novembre 2019 prise en application de l’article 15 du Statut et autorisant l’ouverture d’une enquête dans cette situation, décision intéressante sur plusieurs points. Tout d’abord cette décision fait suite à une procédure exceptionnelle puisque pour la première fois dans l’histoire de la CPI, le Procureur avait en 2018 sollicité, en application de l’article 19-3 du Statut, une décision de la Chambre préliminaire I sur la question de la compétence territoriale de la CPI, requête qui avait donné lieu à une décision du 6 septembre 2018 confirmant que les faits allégués, plus particulièrement ceux constitutifs du crime de déportation, relevaient de la compétence de la Cour car ils avaient été commis au moins en partie sur le territoire d’un État partie au Statut, à savoir le Bangladesh. En effet, bien que les crimes allégués contre les Rohingya, notamment des viols, meurtres et tortures, avaient été commis sur le territoire du Myanmar – État non partie au Statut -, un des éléments constitutifs/une partie du crime de déportation, à savoir le fait de leur avoir fait franchir la frontière entre le Myanmar et le Bangladesh, avait eu lieu sur le territoire du Bangladesh, État partie au Statut, ce qui donnait la possibilité à la CPI d’exercer sa compétence en application de l’article 12-2-a du Statut sur ce crime. La première question qui se posait devant la Chambre préliminaire III dans la situation au Bangladesh/Myanmar était de savoir si cette décision de la Chambre préliminaire I allait être considérée comme res judicata, à savoir comme ayant autorité de la chose jugée. Force est de constater que si la Chambre préliminaire III rappelle la décision du 6 septembre 2018, elle ne lui confère par une autorité de chose jugée mais se déclare en accord avec la conclusion à laquelle la Chambre préliminaire I était parvenue, tout en conduisant sa propre analyse juridique de la question, en apportant des arguments d’ailleurs en partie différents de ceux utilisés par la Chambre préliminaire I. Ensuite, on peut noter que cette décision de la Chambre préliminaire III ne suit pas la jurisprudence des chambres préliminaires au titre de l’article 15 du Statut en ce qui concerne l’analyse du critère de la recevabilité prévu à l’article 53-1-b du Statut, puisqu’elle estime, contrairement aux décisions rendues dans les situations au Kenya, en Côte d’Ivoire, en Géorgie, au Burundi et en Afghanistan, qu’il n’est pas nécessaire pour elle de procéder à une analyse de la recevabilité d’affaires potentielles au regard du principe de complémentarité. Elle a estimé qu’elle pourrait procéder à une telle analyse à un stade ultérieur de la procédure.  Enfin, la Chambre préliminaire, de manière novatrice, a invité le Procureur à faire usage de l’article 56 du Statut qui lui permet de solliciter la Chambre préliminaire afin de préserver des preuves pendant l’enquête (en demandant par exemple à la Chambre préliminaire de nommer un juge, ou un conseil pour représenter les intérêts de la défense, lors du recueil de témoignages) eu égard aux difficultés auxquelles le Procureur pourrait être confronté pendant son enquête et au temps qui pouvait s’écouler avant le début d’un procès dans cette situation. » – « Dans la situation dite en Irak/Royaume-Uni, le BDP s’est « efforcé d’achever son évaluation du champ d’application et du « caractère véritable » des procédures nationales ». Le BDP se livre à une analyse intéressante des différents volets du principe de complémentarité en commençant par son premier volet, à savoir l’inaction éventuelle des autorités nationales. À cet égard, le BDP précise qu’il s’agit de comprendre de quelle manière les allégations ont été « passées au crible » ou filtrées et les critères appliqués pour apprécier si les éléments de preuve étaient suffisants lors de l’évaluation initiale. Le BDP estime « au vu des faits qui lui ont été présentés qu’il est difficile d’affirmer que les autorités britanniques n’ont pris aucune mesure à l’égard des allégations en cause ». En ce qui concerne le second volet du principe de complémentarité, à savoir celui du « caractère véritable » des mesures prises par les autorités nationales, le BDP ne parvient dans son Rapport sur les examens préliminaires en 2019 à aucune conclusion. Le BDP se contente de noter les jugements rendus par le tribunal disciplinaire des sollicitors à l’encontre des avocats qui avaient présenté de nombreuses plaintes contre des soldats britanniques pour des crimes allégués commis en Irak, et notamment un jugement de ce tribunal confirmé en appel par la Haute Cour de Londres, selon lequel les allégations étaient dénuées de tout fondement. Le BDP se déclare également préoccupé par les conclusions d’une enquête conduite par les journalistes d’investigation du Sunday Times et de la BBC qui avait mis au jour des manœuvres visant à exonérer des soldats britanniques déployés en Irak de toute responsabilité pénale (destruction et falsification d’éléments de preuve et mesures visant à clôturer de façon précoce certaines affaires).  Le BDP déclare également qu’il suit de près la proposition de loi faite en 2019 par l’ancienne Secrétaire d’État à la Défense intitulée « legal protections and support for armed forced personnel and veterans » et qu’il lui reviendra d’en analyser les répercussions éventuelles, si la loi était finalement adoptée, sur la capacité des autorités britanniques à entamer des enquêtes et/ou poursuites à l’égard de crimes qui auraient été commis par des membres des forces armées britanniques en Irak, au regard de l’article 17 du Statut . En conclusion, le BDP précise qu’il « s’efforcera de déterminer si les allégations relatives au défaut d’authenticité des procédures sont fondées afin de prendre une décision finale sur l’examen préliminaire dans les meilleurs délais possibles ». » – « En ce qui concerne la situation en Afghanistan, la Chambre préliminaire II a rendu le 12 avril 2019 une décision qui est novatrice sur plusieurs points : 1) c’est la première décision dans l’histoire de la CPI qui rejette la requête du Procureur en vue d’ouvrir une enquête (les autres requêtes dans les situations au Kenya, en Côte d’Ivoire, en Géorgie, au Burundi et au Bangladesh/Myanmar ont toutes été acceptées par les chambres préliminaires) ; 2) C’est la première décision prise en application de l’article 15 du Statut qui décide d’appliquer le critère des intérêts de la justice prévu à l’article 53-1-c du Statut et qui de ce fait donne pour la première fois une définition du contenu de ce critère ; et 3) contrairement aux décisions antérieures prises par les chambres préliminaires, la Chambre préliminaire II a estimé que l’enquête du Procureur, si elle était autorisée, devrait se limiter aux incidents qui sont mentionnés dans sa requête et qui font l’objet d’une autorisation d’enquêter par la Chambre préliminaire. Alors que le débat portant sur les intérêts de la justice avait été largement dominé par le fait de savoir si les intérêts de la justice pourraient amener le Procureur de la CPI à refuser d’ouvrir une enquête pour permettre la conclusion d’un accord de paix, la Chambre préliminaire, pour cette première application des intérêts de la justice, a retenu une conception différente et plutôt centrée sur les chances de succès de la Cour dans la future enquête dont on lui demandait d’autoriser l’ouverture. Au paragraphe 89 de sa décision, la Chambre estime d’abord qu’en l’absence de définition statutaire des « intérêts de la justice », il faut en rechercher la signification dans les objectifs essentiels du Statut à savoir la lutte contre l’impunité, la poursuite effective des crimes internationaux les plus graves et la prévention d’atrocités de masse. Elle en déduit qu’une enquête ne serait dans les intérêts de la justice que s’il apparaît qu’elle peut être efficace et aboutir à des poursuites dans un délai raisonnable. La Chambre préliminaire estime ensuite qu’eu égard au temps écoulé depuis les crimes allégués, à l’absence de mesures de conservation des preuves prises par le Procureur, au fait qu’il sera très difficile d’obtenir la coopération des États, parties et non parties au Statut, impliqués dans cette situation, et, enfin, aux ressources limitées dont la Cour dispose, il n’est pas dans les intérêts de la justice de commencer une enquête dans la situation en Afghanistan. S’agissant enfin de l’étendue de l’enquête, la Chambre préliminaire a entendu par principe limiter la capacité du Procureur à enquêter aux seuls incidents décrits dans sa requête alors que les chambres préliminaires avaient auparavant estimé qu’une telle limitation irait à l’encontre du but d’une enquête et de l’obligation faite par l’article 54-1-a du Statut au Procureur d’étendre l’enquête à tous les faits et éléments de preuve qui peuvent être utiles pour déterminer s’il y a responsabilité pénale au regard du Statut, dans le but d’établir la vérité. La Chambre préliminaire II a au contraire estimé que sa fonction de filtre sous l’angle de l’article 15 avait pour conséquence que son autorisation ne pouvait concerner une situation dans son ensemble mais seulement les évènements identifiés par le Procureur dans sa requête : agir autrement revenait à signer un chèque en blanc au Procureur et à nier le rôle de la Chambre préliminaire. Si le Procureur souhaitait étendre son enquête à des incidents autres que ceux mentionnés dans sa requête initiale ou étroitement liés à ceux-ci, il lui fallait présenter une nouvelle requête en application de l’article 15 du Statut. Cette décision a été frappée d’appel et une audience s’est tenue devant la Chambre d’appel au mois de décembre 2019. La décision de la Chambre d’appel, rendue le 5 mars 2020, sera présentée dans la prochaine chronique. » – « La situation en Libye » – « L’affaire Thomas Lubanga Dyilo : la Chambre de première instance II a rendu au mois de décembre 2017 une décision fixant le montant des réparations auxquelles la personne condamnée était tenue. Cette décision de la Chambre de première instance II a fait l’objet d’un appel à la fois de la défense et d’un groupe de victimes et la Chambre d’appel a rendu sa décision le 18 juillet 2019. La Chambre d’appel a confirmé la décision de la Chambre de première instance II sauf sur un point : elle a estimé que les victimes dont les demandes de réparation avaient été rejetées par la Chambre de première instance auront tout de même la possibilité de représenter leurs demandes pendant la procédure de mise en œuvre de l’ordonnance de réparation devant le Fonds au profit des victimes (le « Fonds »). S’agissant de mesures de réparations pour des enfants soldats, la Chambre d’appel a rappelé l’importance du préjudice qu’ils avaient subi du fait de l’atteinte à leur projet/plan de vie, reprenant une jurisprudence de la Cour interaméricaine des droits de l’homme concernant la responsabilité des États. » -« La Chambre d’appel a également rejeté l’argument de la défense selon lequel il fallait tenir compte du rôle des coauteurs dans cette affaire pour fixer le montant de sa responsabilité « civile » en estimant que la personne condamnée pouvait être tenue responsable de l’intégralité des préjudices subis par les victimes, indépendamment du rôle joué par les autres coauteurs, établissant ainsi le principe d’une responsabilité solidaire . En ce qui concerne l’appel présenté par un groupe de victimes, la Chambre d’appel a estimé que la Chambre de première instance n’avait pas suivi une procédure équitable à l’égard des 48 victimes dont elle avait rejeté les demandes, car ces victimes n’avaient pas été suffisamment informées des exigences probatoires de la Chambre de première instance. Ces victimes pourront donc dans la phase de la mise en œuvre de l’ordonnance de réparations présenter à nouveau leurs demandes au Fonds qui devra statuer sur celles-ci sous le contrôle de la Chambre de première instance. » – « Le Fonds a fait des propositions à la Chambre de première instance II sur le processus visant à localiser et à décider de l’admissibilité aux réparations de ces personnes, propositions que cette Chambre a approuvées au mois de février 2019. Les demandes de réparation présentées par ces personnes sont examinées par le greffe qui fait des recommandations au conseil de direction du Fonds. Ce dernier doit informer la Chambre de première instance des décisions négatives et positives prises par le conseil de direction. Les victimes qui ont vu leurs demandes rejetées par le Fonds peuvent exercer un recours devant la Chambre de première instance. »]
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