Core courses are mandatory. They are structured in six clusters that cover central theoretical and practical issues in the fields of transitional justice, human rights and the rule of law.
What might ‘coming to terms with the past’ mean when societies emerge from civil wars or oppressive regimes? What does justice ‘in transition’ entail and how can it be achieved in such extraordinary circumstances? How can we meaningfully speak of reconciliation in such contexts? And what does international law prescribe with regard to these situations? This introductory course explores the legal and ethical frameworks of transitional justice. It also provides an introduction to the history and concept of transitional justice and to current debates revolving around the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘who’ of transitional processes.
Various fields of international law play a role during transitional justice processes, ranging from international criminal law to address crimes committed by individuals, to international human rights law, for example in relation to reparations. In addition, while originally transitional justice processes took place during the transition from authoritarian regimes to democracy, nowadays many such processes take place in the aftermath of an armed conflict, during an armed conflict or between successive armed conflicts. In such situations, an additional legal regime, international humanitarian law, imposes obligations not only on states, but also armed non-state actors. Thus while transitional justice is often framed around redressing human rights violations, against the background of armed conflicts, international humanitarian law is also relevant. Finally, accountability for past atrocities, whether in peace time or times of armed conflict, plays a crucial role in transitional justice. Yet, the focus tends to be on the accountability of individuals, in particular individual criminal responsibility, rather than collective accountability, such as in the form of state responsibility."
What is the distinctive gender dimension of mass violence and large-scale human rights violations? How can it be integrated into transitional justice norms and practices? What are the recent legal and policy developments in this area, particularly at the level of the United Nations (UN)? This course sheds light on the history and concept of gender studies and their impact on current transitional justice debates. It focuses especially on developments at the UN level.