Apart from the question as to whether or not there should be a military strike against Assad and by whom this should be conducted, one thing is certain: The international community urgently needs to aid the growing number of Syrian refugees that is already staggering. For some time now, the conflict has also had a massive impact beyond the country’s borders. The United Nations has described the developments as the worst refugee crisis since the genocide in Rwanda.

Indigenous and State Justice in Latin America

Cooperation or Coexistence?

The ethnic diversity of Latin America represents a unique cultural treasure, but also presents major challenges to Latin-American societies. After centuries of cultural, social, economic and political marginalisation of indigenous peoples, awareness grew amongst these societies in the second half of the 20th century that there was a need to acknowledge and maintain the cultural heritage of the original inhabitants.

Informal Justice in the Palestinian Legal System

Conflict or Coexistence between Legal Orders?

The Palestinian Legal System consists of different layers of colonial codes and rules: Ottoman, British, Jordanian, and Egyptian laws, Israeli military orders and Palestinian legislation. Complicating matters further, there are at least two segments of legal and judicial life that coexist in Palestine: Codified laws and regulations, which include the religious laws, and an informal system of conflict resolution based on customs.

Politics, Chieftaincy and Customary Law in Ghana

Ghana has been recognised internationally in recent years as a country whose democratic reform efforts have not only been emblematic of successful democratisation, but which also have brought significant benefits to the country. However, the country continues to cherish and maintain ancient values and tradition, exemplified most strongly by the institution of Chieftaincy. However, over the years, politics have influenced the institution of chieftaincy and customary law.

The European External Action Service

A Difficult Start of an Innovative Institution

The European External Action Service has the potential to become an innovative foreign policy instrument and to strengthen Europe’s global role. Nevertheless, it has had a difficult start and is still struggling for recognition by other foreign policy actors. It has so far been unable to fulfil the high expectations placed upon it. This year’s evaluation of the EEAS offers an opportunity to improve upon the EEAS’ structure.

The Syrian Refugee Crisis as a Result of the Unresolved Conflict in Syria

The conflict in Syria has led to a refugee movement of enormous proportions among Syrian citizens. Approximately 27.5 per cent of the Syrian population have fled; just under 19.4 per cent as internally displaced persons and more than eight per cent as refugees – and these numbers are increasing by the day. According to the governments of Syria’s neighbouring countries, the number of Syrian refugees who have sought asylum within their borders is already well over two million.

Tradition and Justice

International Reports 9|2013

Please download the full PDF here.

Democracy without Parties

The Philippines in the Patronage Trap

During the mid-term elections in the Philippines on 13 May 2013, as expected the old patronage parties came out on top. Once again, the electoral system offered the opportunity for candidature nearly exclusively to well-known personalities and wealthy families during the country-wide senatorial election. Similarly, the elections for the Lower House and local elections were dominated by political clans and dynasties. Vote-buying and controlled voting in polling stations turned the election into a farce.


In June, Iran elected a new President, and in May, parliamentary elections took place in Pakistan. Events in Egypt however have demonstrated that it is too early to celebrate democratic progress when one election has proceeded successfully and in line with international standards. The examination of election campaigns and the elections as well as the final official results does not provide much of an insight into the democratic development of a country by itself.

Elections and Transitions in the Islamic World

International Reports 8|2013

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About this series

This periodical responds to questions concerning international issues, foreign policy and development cooperation. It is aimed at access of information about the international work for public and experts.

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