Transitional justice: History-Telling, Collective Memory and the Victim-Witness

Brants, Chrisje and Klep, Katrien (2013) Transitional justice: History-Telling, Collective Memory and the Victim-Witness. International Journal of Conflict and Violence, 7 (1). pp. 36-49. ISSN 1864-1385

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This article examines the complex, inherently political, and often contradictory processes of truth-finding, history-telling, and formation of collective memory
through transitional justice. It explores tensions between history-telling and the normative goals of truth commissions and international criminal courts, taking
into account the increasing importance attributed to victims as witnesses of history. The legal space these instruments of transitional justice offer is determined
by both their historical and political roots, and specific goals and procedures. Because the legal space that truth commissions offer for history-telling is
more flexible and their report open to public debate, they may open up alternative public spaces and enable civil society to contest the master narrative. The
legal truth laid down in the rulings of an international criminal court is by definition closed. The verdict of a court is definite and authoritative; closure, not
continued debate about what it has established as the truth, is its one and only purpose. In conclusion, the article calls for a critical appraisal of transitional
justice as acclaimed mediator of collective memories in post-conflict societies.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Transitional justice, international criminal courts, truth commissions, collective memory, social justice
Subjects: M200 Law by Topic
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Northumbria Law School
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2013 12:26
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 14:34

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