Atrocities and International Accountability: Beyond Transitional Justice

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Rebuilding societies where conflict has occurred is rarely a simple process. Where conflict has been accompanied by gross and systematic violations of human rights, the procedure becomes very controversial.

The traditional debate on "transitional justice" sought to balance justice, truth, accountability, peace, and stability. The appearance of impunity for past crimes undermines confidence in new democratic structures and casts doubt upon commitments to human rights. Yet the need to consolidate peace sometimes resulted in reluctance on the part of authorities —both local and international —to confront suspected perpetrators of human rights violations, especially when they are a part of a peace process. Experience in many regions of the world therefore suggested a tradeoff between peace and justice. But that is changing.

There is a growing consensus that some forms of justice and accountability are integral to —rather than in tension with —peace and stability. This volume considers whether we are truly going beyond the transitional justice debate. It brings together eminent scholars and practitioners with direct experience in some of the most challenging cases of international justice, and illustrates that justice and accountability remain complex, but not mutually exclusive, ideals.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789280811414
  • Publisher: United Nations University Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

William A. Schabas is professor of human rights law at National University of Ireland in Galway, and director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Ramesh Thakur is a distinguished fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and professor of political science at the University of Waterloo, Canada. He previously served as senior vice-rector of the United Nations University and assistant secretary general of the United Nations. Edel Hughes is junior lecturer in law at the University of Limerick, Ireland and a Ph.D. candidate at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland.

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Table of Contents

Tables and figures     vii
Contributors     viii
Acronyms     xi
Introduction   Edel Hughes   William A. Schabas   Ramesh Thakur     1
How to come to terms with the past   Peter R. Baehr     6
Does power trump morality? Reconciliation or transitional justice?   Rama Mani     23
Transitional justice and conflict termination: Mozambique, Rwanda and South Africa assessed   Helena Cobban     42
All the truth but only some justice? Dilemmas of dealing with the past in new democracies   Jorge Heine     65
East Timor's search for justice, reconciliation and dignity   Jeff Kingston     81
No substitute for sovereignty: Why international criminal justice has a bleak future - and deserves it   Jeremy Rabkin     98
Dancing with the devil: Prosecuting West Africa's warlords - current lessons learned and challenges   David M. Crane     133
The development of prosecutorial discretion in international criminal courts   Matthew Brubacher     142
Alternatives to prosecution: The case of Rwanda   Gerald Gahima     159
Independence and impartiality of the international judiciary: Some lessons learned, and some ignored   William A. Schabas     182
Impartiality deficit and international criminal judging   Diane Marie Amann     208
The effect of amnesties before domestic and international tribunals: Morality, law and politics   Leila Nadya Sadat     225
Trading justice for peace: The contemporary law and policy debate   Michael P. Scharf     246
Concluding remarks: The questions that still remain   William A. Schabas   Ramesh Thakur     275
Index     286
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