Transitional justice mechanisms have been frequently used in recent years to provide accountability for gross human rights violations and acts of mass atrocity (genocide, crimes against humanity, and ‘ethnic cleansing’) carried out within a state or in the context of an armed conflict.
In this course we will examine the legacies of such abuses and the institutions and processes that different societies have used to address them. Readings, lectures, and discussions will be structured around four main elements of transitional justice (truth, justice, reparations and institutional reforms), comparing the approaches of countries in Latin America, Africa, and Europe. The course will also deal with the gender dimensions of transitional justice and will discuss the complex relationship between peace-building, reconciliation and development in the context of fragile peace processes.
The course will use historical and contemporary case studies (e.g. South Africa, Rwanda, Argentina, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, as well as the experiences of the Arab Spring, such as Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt) to gain a better understanding of whether and how the different mechanisms of transitional justice have contributed to goals such as peace, justice, and reconciliation. Students will be encouraged to bring cases and examples that interest them to the course in order to stimulate debate and discussion and to engage with current processes and developments in various regions of the world.