Human Rights, Democracy, and Transitional Justice

PADM-GP.2224, 4 points.


Should societies confront the legacies of past human rights abuse or atrocity? If so, how? What policy options are open to successor regimes during a post-transition or post-conflict period? How do these policy options relate to broader goals, such as peace, stability, or democracy? This course seeks to answer these questions. This course begins with an exploration of why, or even if, societies should confront past human rights abuse and atrocity. Drawing on film and literature, as well as accounts by victims and arguments by victim movements, the course examines arguments about justice and democracy-building that have been advanced to support the field of transitional justice. The course then examines the main strategies that have emerged for an engagement with the past. These include (1) prosecuting the offenders, from Germany's Adolf Eichmann, to Chile's General Pinochet, to Iraq's Saddam Hussein, including through international tribunals or "hybrid" (mixed) tribunals such as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia; (2) developing truth commissions (such as in Chile, South Africa, Peru, and Sierra Leone), or other (e.g. non-offciial) forms of truth-telling; (3) establishing reparations programs (including the possibility of reparations for slavery in the USA); (4) launching of larger-scale institutional reforms (such as police reform or security sector reform in countries such as Northern Ireland, East Germany, and Iraq); and (5) the building of memorials and recapturing public spaces to create social dialogue (in Argentina, Cambodia, East Timor). The theme of "reconciliation" will also be discussed throughout the course.


PADM-GP 2201

Semester Instructor Syllabus Link
Fall 2008Syllabus
Fall 2008Syllabus
Fall 2008Syllabus
Semester Instructor Evaluation Link
Fall 2009Bickford, LouisEvaluation
Fall 2008Bickford, LouisEvaluation
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