Results and Analysis
I argued that the absence of an independent judiciary would increase the likelihood that personal integrity abuses would occur. As indicated in Table 2, I found no correlation between judicial independence and human rights violations. Instead there was a random distribution between the two variables. Apodaca (2004) discovered a correlation when she conducted a global analysis by focusing on one region or continent. This suggests that there may be a correlation in certain areas, like the United States and Canada, while there may not be in others. Why is there a relationship between the independent variable and the dependent variable through a global analysis, but not during research that focuses on a particular area? Eventually Apodoca answers this question by admitting to having omitted developed countries from her analysis.
Next, I describe some of the cases that were in line with my expectations and some that contradicted my hypothesis. For instance, Chad has high levels of judicial independence and high scores of human rights violations. Chad’s case challenges my hypothesis concerning judicial independence, yet it supports the predicted relationship between the control variables, democracy, and GDP. It supports the idea that low levels of democracy and low GDP increases the chances of human rights violations.
In Namibia, I found characteristics opposite to those of Chad. Namibia has a judicial independence ranking of 1 and has an average human rights score of 1.5. This combination is the opposite of what I expected to find. According to the political terror scale, human rights violations do not occur frequently, but there is no evidence that the ultimate causal mechanism is an independent judiciary. An explanation for Namibia’s case, just as for South Africa during the Apartheid era, is international pressure. During the same period as Apartheid, Namibia was being pressured by international sources to “cease all hostile acts by all parties” in the UN plan (U.S. State Department) and to formulate a democratic style of government. In order to maintain diplomatic relationships with other state actors, Namibia had to agree to terms imposed by others. These terms caused democracy levels to rise, which in turn resulted in improved human rights practices. Instead of the predicted connection, Namibia’s evolution demonstrates the relationship of the control variable democracy and human rights. It also brings attention to a persuasive tool such as international pressure that can improve respect for human rights. Namibia’s case allows for one to develop insight regarding how human rights are affected in countries transitioning into democracy. This case does not suggest that judicial independence is completely irrelevant. It simply suggests other forces are more effective in maintaining personal integrity rights. This indicates that countries transforming into democratic societies may pay little attention to the judicial branch. One explanation might be that an independent judiciary is seen as a final piece of the puzzle to sustaining a democracy that protects citizen’s human rights.
Free and fair customs may begin a process of democratization that concludes with an independent judiciary. There may also be intervening circumstances that cause countries to focus less on particular government institutions, such as international pressures and diplomacy. Countries that are dependent on the international community for support have to preserve a diplomatic relationship with the supplying country. International pressure can also be a major force when there is a strategic interest in a country. These interests include natural resources, trade, or anything that contributes to countries becoming allies of more powerful states. When the accessibility of certain resources is at risk due to civil conflict, outside state actors feel the need to intervene to protect their interests. An operational resort sometimes involves pressure or threats, which yields a constructive outcome within government institutions.
An additional explanation for the lack of correlation is measurement issues. Sample size is a vital component when conducting a data analysis. When the size of the items being measured is too small, it makes it almost impossible for a relationship to be displayed between an independent and dependent variable. As a result of N being low, reaching statistical significance can be quite difficult. The assumption of sample size effects is applicable for any variable. The sample size for this research is a relatively small number in comparison to global analysis research.