The second term of the Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ) started with a very special occasion: a study trip to Nuremberg. A key site for thinking about transitional justice as a contemporary response to mass atrocity.
Nuremberg is of course internationally renowned for the so-called Nuremberg Trials, held by the Allied Powers after World War II to judge the major war criminals. But Nuremberg is also the city after which the infamous Nazi racial laws were named and where the National-Socialist Party Rallies were held annually between 1933 and 1938 as massive orchestrations of Nazi propaganda.
A visit to the Nuremberg Trials Memorial was one of the trip’s highlights. This information and documentation centre is located on the top floor of the courtroom where leaders of the Nazi regime had to respond for their crimes before an International Military Tribunal. Following the visit, MTJ students had an insightful discussion and friendly exchange with professors and students from the University of Nuremberg-Erlangen.
MTJ students also visited the Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Ground, which is housed in the unfinished Congress Hall. They attended the permanent exhibition ‘Terror and Fascination’, which looks at the causes, context and consequences of the Nazi regime. Later, they walked together through the gigantic remains of buildings that served as a monumental background for the Nazi party rallies.
Visiting all these historically charged places proved to be an intense, at times harrowing, experience for students.
In this interview, Firouzeh Mitchell, currently enrolled in the Master in Transitional Justice, tells us about the programme and life in Geneva.
During one week, from 3 to 7 April 2017, the 33 participants in the first Transitional Justice Spring School discussed the roles of culture and memory in transitional justice contexts, a relatively unexplored field of transitional justice.
UN Photo/Stuart Price
This project aims at mapping various existing accountability mechanisms, in the context of military interventions, through the lens of the requirements of a transitional justice process in order to identify possibilities and gaps.
As a comprehensive attempt to ‘codify’ universal accountability norms, the UN Principles marked a significant step forward in the debate on the obligation of states to combat impunity in its various forms. Despite this significance, no comprehensive academic commentary of the 38 principles has yet been provided so far. This project seeks to fill this gap.