The Role of Culture and Memory in Transitions Discussed at the 2018 Transitional Justice Spring School

Participants to the 2018 Transitional Justice Spring School Participants to the 2018 Transitional Justice Spring School

27 March 2018

During one week, from 19 to 23 March, the 41 participants in the 2018 Transitional Justice Spring School discussed the roles that memory, culture and history play in dealing with a violent past and in preventing recurrence of atrocities.

An Unexplored Field of Transitional Justice

Practitioners, scholars, experts and students from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines addressed this relatively unexplored field of transitional justice via an interdisciplinary programme. They discussed key questions such as the role of culture and memorialization in transitional justice processes, namely in Germany and the Balkans; the role of culture in transforming societies after political violence; the role of archives in preserving memory; or legal questions related to the access to archives.

‘Our Spring School precisely aims at addressing new and emerging issues in transitional justice and at broadening the perspective by looking beyond conventional transitional justice approaches and mechanisms such as trials or truth-commissions’ stresses Frank Haldemann, former Co-Director of the Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law. ‘I was really impressed by the level of discussions and exchanges which highlighted challenges, lessons learned and innovative approaches in relation to the roles of memory, history, archives and culture in transitional justice’.

2018 Transitional Justice Spring School Memory Culture and Archives

On-Site Visits

Besides lectures by leading scholars and practitioners, the programme also included on-site visits at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the League of Nations Archives, as well as participation in a discussion with the United Nations Special Rapporteur Pablo de Greiff on the contribution of transitional justice to the prevention of mass atrocities.

‘These visits allow participants to see how institutions address the issues of archives, dealing with the past, memory and history in their daily work’ underlines Thomas Unger, former Co-Director of the Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law. ‘What we discuss at the Transitional Justice Spring School are not abstract concepts but very concrete issues that organizations and individuals involved in post-conflict or post-authoritarian contexts have to address’ he adds.

2018 Transitional Justice Spring School ICRC

About the Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

The Transitional Justice Spring School is a special one-week course that discusses cutting-edge issues in transitional justice.

It forms part of the Geneva Academy Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law – a unique and innovative programme that combines high-level academic education and real-world practice in the field of transitional justice. One of the very few courses on this subject, it focuses on the fundamentals but also new dimensions of a rapidly expanding field where there is a strong need for well-trained professionals.

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