J’accuse! Does Naming and Shaming Perpetrators Reduce the Severity of Genocides or Politicides?


  • Author’s note: The author would like to thank Sam Bell, Jacqueline DeMeritt, Kyla McEntire, Amanda Murdie, Jeffrey Pickering, James Warner, the editors of International Studies Quarterly, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions on previous drafts of this article. The data and replication file used to generate the results presented in this article are available at http://www3.wooster.edu/polisci/mkrain/naming&shaming.html.


Krain, Matthew. (2012) J’accuse ! Does Naming and Shaming Perpetrators Reduce the Severity of Genocides or Politicides? International Studies Quarterly, doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2012.00732.x
© 2012 International Studies Association

This study tests the effectiveness of naming and shaming by transnational advocacy networks in reducing the severity of ongoing instances of genocide or politicide. I argue that naming and shaming should force perpetrators to reduce the severity of these ongoing atrocities in order to shift the spotlight, save their reputation, reframe their identity, maintain international legitimacy and domestic viability, and ease pressure placed on them by states or IOs. I test whether naming and shaming by NGOs, the media, and IOs significantly reduces the severity of the killing. Ordered logit analyses of ongoing genocides and politicides from 1976 to 2008 reveal that naming and shaming by Amnesty International, the Northern media, and the UNCHR have significant ameliorative effects on the severity of the most extreme atrocities. Transnational advocacy networks have the potential, through naming and shaming, to lead to life-saving changes in these murderous policies.