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2016 Bergen Exchanges on Law & Social Transformation

22 Aug 2016
The Bergen Exchanges on Law & Social Transformation is an annual interdisciplinary meeting place for scholars who want to understand the interplay between law and social change. The lectures, roundtables and panels bring together scholars and practitioners from all over the world. Welcome

Is China too big to fault?

11 May 2016
In October 2010, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel peace prize. New research from CMI shows that the Chinese sanctions had a substantial negative effect on Norwegian direct exports to China. In addition, an analysis of Norway’s voting pattern in the UN suggests that Chinese sanctions may have been effective in changing Norway’s position on human rights issues. The potential consequences are chilling.

Ending child marriages: Not only a question of law

4 May 2016 | CMI Field Notes
The new Marriage Act in Malawi has been hailed for raising the legally prescribed age of marriage to 18, yet the truth is that there is no absolute minimum age of marriage in Malawi and that legal inconsistencies threaten the enforcement of the law.

Reduce judicial corruption and improve access to justice for all

26 Apr 2016
Corrupt judicial systems undermine reforms and are a major impediment to ensuring access to justice and human rights for ordinary citizens across the world, says a new report published by the United Nations Development Programme and U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre on 8 April. Titled, A Transparent and Accountable Judiciary to Deliver Justice for All, the report cites survey data suggesting that the public perceive the judiciary as the second most corrupt public institution, after the police.

Why did the Tunisian dialogue quartet win the Nobel peace prize?

9 Dec 2015
As the Tunisian dialogue quartet was awarded the Nobel peace prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee hailed the Tunisian quartet's essential role in advancing peaceful democratic developments. To make further advances, the Tunisian people must regain their sense of participation and significance in the process. If this happens, the Nobel peace prize can make an actual contribution to safeguard democracy in Tunisia.

Reality defeats good intentions: The power of religious leaders in Touba

27 Nov 2015
Legislation is a widely used tool for increasing the number of women in politics. But laws seeking to promote gender parity come short in facing the ‘sociological realities’ in Senegal, as the case of the holy city of Touba shows.

Education fees in Nepal give households a hard time

7 Oct 2015
During my fieldwork in Ilam district, Eastern Nepal, I had the chance to visit many different homes, and to experience parts of the everyday life of Nepali families. So far, in every single stay, I was impressed by the children’s motivation for doing homework until late in the evening, and their great ability to speak English. One of them, a 4,5-years old was copying mathematical rules and letters several times, “just for fun, as he is doing it every evening”, as his older brother told me.

No magic bullets for reconciliation

17 Aug 2015 | Rwanda
When societies go from military dictatorship to democracy or from internal armed conflict to peace, one of the toughest choices facing the government in the new order is how to deal with past violence. Great hopes have been pinned on transitional justice mechanisms, but the anticipated positive effects of transitional justice mechanisms on the process of restoring peace or (re)constructing democracy may be too high.

Making remittances work against money laundering

20 Jul 2015
Hawala networks can be useful partners in the work against money laundering of corruption gains, rather than the obstacle they are often considered to be.

Gender, sex and religious freedom in the context of secular law

19 Jun 2015 | Roundtable
Why and how do discussions about religious freedom and secularism coalesce around questions of gender and sexuality? What is the relationship between the regulation of gender and sexuality and the regulation of religion in modern secular societies?

Violence against women in Afghanistan: Getting away with murder

19 May 2015
On 19 March, Farkhunda was lynched by an angry mob on the streets of Kabul. She had been falsely accused of burning the Quran. In a swift trial, four men were sentenced to death, eight to 16 years in prison. The Farkhunda trial is a statistical outlier. In Afghanistan, few men are punished for violence against women.

Covering up a massacre in Angola?

19 May 2015 | Will the international community take a stand?
In mid-April 2015, news emerged about the killing of nine police-men in Angola's Huambo province. The incident involved the police and members of Juliano Kalupeteca's "Light of the World" religious sect. In the following days, grizzling reports emerged of a massacre of perhaps hundreds of sect members. We do not yet know the truth. Angola's government appears to do its utmost to prevent knowledge of it to transpire. Will the international community remain passive?

Sudan after the elections

19 May 2015 | Sudan Week

The balancing act of moderate Islamist politics in Tunisia

12 May 2015 | CMI Field Notes
Discussions over the role Islam should play in public life, are raging in Tunisia. A veiled Tunisair flight attendant caused uproar in the Tunisian Parliament recently, writes researcher Mari Norbakk from fieldwork in Tunis.

Corruption hunters - investigating and prosecuting financial crime

11 May 2015 | Panel discussion
Norad’s international corruption hunters network meets in Bergen. Hear how they work to prosecute corrupt criminals.

How can Norway best support Afghanistan?

24 Mar 2015 | Afghanistan Week 2015:
The current situation in Afghanistan is the subject of two opposing narratives: one is a success story about international support and involvement since 2001; the other is a story where much has gone wrong and everything can only get worse. Agreeing on a narrative that is closer to the truth is crucial when deciding what form Norwegian support and involvement should take in the future, write Arne Strand and Liv Kjølseth.

Playing the Ethnic Card? The political game in Malawi

4 Feb 2015 | CMI Field Notes
The good (but not so new) news from Malawian politics is that some of the democratic basics are in place, making the somewhat impaired democracy keep stumbling on, writes CMIs Inge Amundsen and Gift Sambo from the field.

Civil-military relations in Venezuela…by the pool

27 Jan 2015 | CMI Field Notes
In Venezuela, views on the relationship between civilian politics and the military are highly divergent. Yet, at the pool club Circulo Militar el Lagunito all boundaries between civilians and the military are blurred. In this social club, anyone is welcome, no questions asked. The idea of civil-military alliances is at the core of CMI researcher Iselin Åsedotter Strønen's field work in Caracas.

Multinational accounting firms: On both sides of the table

23 Jan 2015
Big accounting firms advice multinational companies on tax loopholes and lobby for tax exemptions. At the same time they advice governments in developing countries on tax reforms and engage in government task forces. A new research project delve deeper into the dual role of multinational accounting firms.

Researching the social dynamics of law  

21 Aug 2014
Law is increasingly center stage for political battles. Across the globe, people are going to court to claim their right to health or education, to fight for their right to engage in sex work or same-sex relationships - while others mobilize courts and legislatures to criminalize prostitution or homosexual practice.

Thailand: A Different Kind of Coup

2 Jun 2014 | Behind the News
The military has seized power under the banner of 'unity and harmony' to defend the constitutional monarchy. In the short term, they have won. In the longer run, the outcome is much less certain.

Prosecuting leaders for universal crimes before domestic courts

23 Apr 2014
Public event with Naomi Roht-Arriaza (University of California), Elin Skaar (CMI) and Harmen van der Wilt (University of Amsterdam).

Accountability for leadership participation in universal crimes and the role of judges

22 Apr 2014
How can we understand and ensure accountability for heinous crimes linked to power structures in society - including core international crimes such as genocide and crimes against humanity?

Homophobic lawfare in Uganda and beyond

25 Mar 2014 | BreakfastForum
Åse Gilje Østensen (Royal Norwegian Naval Academy) in conversation with Malcolm Langford (Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and Chr. Michelsen Institute) and Siri Gloppen (UiB/CMI).

Corruption, grabbing and development: Real world challenges

13 Feb 2014 | Book launch in Oslo
Grabbing is a major obstacle to development. It takes different forms in different countries, and standardised anti-corruption efforts fail. Experienced practitioners and researchers present corrupt practices from around the world challenging anti-corruption efforts and explaining why they have failed.

Defying the international expert community in Afghanistan

20 Dec 2013
There has been much debate on whether Afghanistan's informal justice practices should be integrated in the country's official justice system. Who should decide such an issue? Local activists claiming that these practices violate human rights, international researchers arguing that they are an undeniable part of Afghan 'reality' or military actors claiming that informal justice is necessary to win the war against the insurgents?

Is Dos Santos pushing his luck?

19 Dec 2013
While the Angolan president José Eduardo Dos Santos may be grooming his son to follow him as president, political opponents of his regime have been eliminated. This year he has spent long periods of time abroad. Meanwhile, the social crisis in the country increases in scope. The opposition is organising their strengths. Even in the president's own ranks, there are murmurs of discontent. Has Dos Santos gone too far?

The International Criminal Court: Global justice or unfair treatment of Africans?

27 Nov 2013 | BreakfastForum
Senior Researcher Gunnar M. Sørbø (CMI) and Professor of law Terje Einarsen (UiB) in conversation with Åse Gilje Østensen.

Changing conditions for fighting economic crime

30 Oct 2013 | Workshop
What constitutes an efficient criminal justice system? This international workshop with leading experts explores criteria for crime-preventive impacts through the criminal justice system.

Organizing their way to gender equality

25 Oct 2013
Ugandan women have organized themselves to the core of national politics. What lessons are there to learn from the Ugandan experience?

Land Rights and Inclusive Development in India

17 Oct 2013
Why has landlessness come to plague the weakest and poorest amongst the tribal population, when laws were enacted to prevent this from happening?

Women, Power & Peacemaking in Africa

7 Oct 2013 | Seminar
Post-conflict countries in Africa have doubled the rates of female legislative representation compared with countries that have not undergone conflict. Professor Aili Mari Tripp compares changes in women's rights in Uganda, Liberia, Congo and Angola.

Judicial Battlefield over the Right to Abortion in Latin America

30 Sep 2013 | BreakfastForum
Paola Bergallo and Rachel Sieder in conversation with Åse Gilje Østensen.

The basics of successful litigation

20 Sep 2013
"Litigation may be an effective means to secure economic, social and cultural rights," says Camila Gianella. As a result of numerous health rights litigations, the Colombian Constitutional Court ordered extensive structural reforms of the country's health system.

Arab Spring to Sudan?

25 Jun 2013 | From Khartoum:
There is an appetite for change. Discontent against Bashir is widespread. The popular sentiment rumbling in Khartoum is that Bashir will fall sooner or later.

M. Cherif Bassiouni: International criminal justice in the era of growing globalization

30 May 2013 | Marking the 70th birthday of Astri Suhrke:
M. Cherif Bassiouni an international United Nations war crimes expert, often called "The Godfather of International Criminal Law". Professor Bassiouni has served in numerous United Nations positions, including Chair of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry for Libya (2011) and UN Commission on Human Rights for Afghanistan (2004-06).