Law 798:  Transitional Justice

Transitional justice refers to the process of responding to wrongdoing in the context of a transition away from extended periods of conflict and/or repression. The wrongs of interest constitute mass human rights violations and often implicate state officials. In this course, we survey a range of processes used to respond to such wrongdoing, including amnesty, criminal punishment, truth commissions, reparations, and official apologies. The central question the course takes up is: are (all/some/none) of such varied processes just responses to wrongdoing? To answer this question, we consider the point(s) or purpose(s) of each type of response. Are responses oriented towards fulfilling claims of victims or demands on perpetrators? Forward-looking goals and objectives? Both? We also consider their effectiveness: To what extent, and under what conditions, does a given legal response facilitate its stated purposes and goals? Our discussions draw on a range of cases, including Colombia, South Africa, and the United States. This is an upper-level-writing eligible course.

Prerequisite: There are no prerequisites for this course.

Evaluation: Contributions to class discussion and paper.

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