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Democracy's Blameless LeadersFrom Dresden to Abu Ghraib, How Leaders Evade Accountability for Abuse, Atrocity, and Killing$
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Neil James Mitchell

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814761441

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814761441.001.0001

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A Tale of a Few Cities

A Tale of a Few Cities

Better Leaders, Better Institutions, or a Better Audience?

(p.188) 10 A Tale of a Few Cities
Democracy's Blameless Leaders

Neil James Mitchell

NYU Press

This concluding chapter focuses on leaders' accountability. Accountability is a procedure that happens once a violation has occurred. It requires a timely and accurate account of actions and policies. From time to time, democratic leaders face difficult choices in preserving national security, restoring the rule of law, and protecting the community from terrorism. But, when things go wrong, leaders act opportunistically to avoid personal blame or damage to their ability to govern. Yet the failure of accountability is not the failure of a singularly poor leader or of a particular institutional arrangement. For war crimes and human rights violations, there is a failure of accountability across both parliamentary and presidential systems and over time.

Keywords:   accountability, democratic leaders, terrorism, institutional arrangement, human rights violations

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