This essay presents a theory of small arms demand and provides initial evidence from ongoing case studies in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, South Africa and Brazil. The theory revolves around the motivations and means to acquire arms, addressing issues such as contrasting acquirers and possessors and differentiating between acquirers and non-acquirers, consumers and producers, and final and intermediate demand. The essay also studies characteristics of small arms that make them so desirable as compared to other means of conducting violent conflict. The overall goal is to provide a theoretical framework and language that is common to a variety of social science approaches to the study of small arms use, misuse and abuse.
This Article considers the role of crime in transitional states. I draw on three case studies, two from Latin America (Brazil and El Salvador), and one from sub-Saharan Africa (South Africa). It first briefly considers the similarity in focus of transitional justice approaches to police and criminal justice reform, invoking acculturation theory to explain the replication of a dominant, backward-looking script across different transitional states. Next, it considers the frequent inability of police and the criminal justice system to cope adequately with rising crime using these replicated scripts and the consequences of this failure for the defense of human rights, the rule of law, and the stability of new democracies. The Article assesses the particular dynamics of these processes for each of the three country case studies. Throughout the Article, I seek to demonstrate that it is crucial to address deficiencies in domestic criminal justice systems precisely during periods of transition and that criminal justice solutions should be developed at this time-to the extent possible-in an objective and comprehensive fashion, rather than in ways that seek to respond to problems of the pre-transitional state. In this way, I suggest, transitional justice can progress beyond existing, backward-looking frameworks to build nations capable of addressing the challenges they will face as they move forward.