OTPIC Officially Retired
As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.
The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.
International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict
Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA
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Often responsibility for serious acts of injustice and criminal behavior lies with a few individuals and not the larger group or society to which these individuals belong. In these cases, it is generally more desirable to direct counter-force strategies upon those "responsible" individuals and not the larger community. In extreme cases this may involve criminal prosecution by war crimes tribunals for "crimes against humanity." In less extreme cases the guilty parties can be tried under domestic laws for handling conflict in a socially unacceptable way.
For example, individuals who kill civil rights leaders as part of a personal campaign to preserve a segregated society can be tried for murder and people who take hostages can be tried for kidnapping. Criminal prosecution can also be used against those who abuse the court system by filing unfounded and frivolous cases to harass opponents. People can also be tried for bribery or unfair election practices. There are also cases in which larger police, military, or paramilitary organizations are responsible for criminal behavior. In these cases military action or a change of leadership may be required before criminal proceedings can begin.
One of the most difficult dilemmas facing new regimes is deciding who to prosecute, and who to forgive, or whether a blanket amnesty should be granted to people on the opposing side in an effort to put past difficulties "behind us." Criminal prosecution of human rights abusers gives the victims some sense of finality and justice; but at the same time, it discourages perpetrators from coming forward with the truth about what really happened, which is also necessary for reconciliation. Widespread criminal prosecution also can lead to a prolonged conflict between the groups. If military personnel or civilians think that they are likely to be dealt with harshly by a new regime, they are likely to fight harder to prevent that new regime from gaining control, and they can continue to oppose the new regime after it is installed. This can prolong a conflict--and the associated human rights abuses--longer than it might have otherwise gone on.
US Institute of Peace Special Report: Dayton Implementation: The Apprehension and Prosecution of Indicted War Criminals
U.S. Institute of Peace --Rwanda After the Genocide
U.S. Institute of Peace--Legal Help for Rwanda
U.S. Institute of Peace--Police Are Critical to the Peace Process
Legitimizing the Use of Force
Assuming Monolithic, Worst Case Opponent
Apology and Forgiveness
Dealing with Extremists
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