This talk explores the role of civil activism in the identification, naming and sanctioning of state crime. It is based on empirical research conducted by Penny Green and her colleague Tony Ward over 5 years and investigates the work of non-government organisations (NGOs) challenging state violence and corruption in six countries – Colombia, Tunisia, Kenya, Turkey, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea. Drawing on over 350 interviews with civil society activists the talk will survey the tactics employed by civil society activists to withstand and challenge state repression and identify the legal, religious and political norms underpinning these challenges. It analyses the relation between political activism and charitable work, and the often ambivalent views of civil society organisations towards violence. Critically it explores the dialectical processes by which repression stimulates and shapes the forces of resistance against it.
Penny Green is Professor of Law and Globalisation and Head of the Law School at Queen Mary University of London. She joined Queen Mary University of London in September 2014 following seven years as Professor of Law and Criminology at King’s College London. She studied Psychology, Anthropology and Sociology at the Australian National University before undertaking graduate studies and a doctorate in Criminology at Cambridge University.
Professor Green has published eleven books and numerous articles. She has published extensively on state crime theory (including her monographs with Tony Ward, State Crime: Governments, Violence and Corruption 2004 and State crime and Civil Activism: on the dialectics of repression and resistance 2019), state violence, Turkish criminal justice and politics, ‘natural’ disasters, transnational crime, mass forced evictions/displacement and resistance to state violence. She has a long track record of researching in hostile environments and has conducted fieldwork in the UK, Turkey, Kurdistan, Palestine/Israel, Tunisia, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Professor Green’s most recent projects include a comparative study of civil society resistance to state crime in Turkey, Tunisia, Colombia, PNG, Kenya and Myanmar; forced evictions in Palestine/Israel and Myanmar’s genocide against its Muslim ethnic Rohingya. In 2015 she and her colleagues Thomas MacManus and Alicia de la Cour Venning published the seminal ‘Countdown to Annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar’ and in March 2018 ‘The Genocide is Over: the genocide continues’. The Rohingya reports entail the most detailed and systematic empirical research on the subject. In Myanmar 176 interviews were conducted with Rohingya in the Sittwe and Mrauk U detention camps, villages and Aung Mingalar ghetto, with Rakhine and Kaman villagers, Buddhist monks, Rakhine nationalists, politicians, business people and the international community. In Bangladesh 70 survivors of the 2017 genocidal clearances were interviewed.
Professor Green is Founder and Director of the award winning International State Crime Initiative (ISCI) - a multi-disciplinary international initiative committed to researching, analysing and disseminating research-based knowledge about criminal state practices and resistance to them.
She is an Adjunct Professor at Birzeit University, Ramallah and is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of NSW and Ulster University. She has also held Visiting Fellowships at the University of Melbourne, Latrobe University, Monash University, and Bosphorus University; is Secretary of the Democratic Progress Institute’s Board of Trustees; a member of the ESRC Peer Review College; co-editor in Chief of the international journal State Crime, editorial board member of the Statelessness and Citizenship Review, and The Journal of Genocide Research; and co-Editor of the Routledge Crimes of the Powerful monograph series.