EU485 Half Unit
Post-Conflict Justice and Reconciliation in Europe and Beyond
This information is for the 2021/22 session.
Dr Denisa Kostovicova CBG 7.03
This course is available on the MSc in Conflict Studies, MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe, MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe (LSE & Sciences Po), MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Gender, Peace and Security, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy and MSc in International Migration and Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
The pursuit of justice in the aftermath of mass atrocity and gross human rights violations has become a norm in a globalised post-Cold War world. It rests on the premise that states and societies ought to engage with the difficult past in order to transition from conflict to peace. Provisions including redress for human rights violations have now become the staple of peace-agreements, whether through retributive instruments such as war crimes trials or restorative instruments such as truth commissions and reparations. However, scholars and practitioners have simultaneously been confronted with the limitations of transitional justice. Instead of promoting peace and reconciliation, it has often had the opposite impact: it has further divided ethnic communities, distorted the truth about suffering, and traumatised rather than dignified the victims. With a focus on Europe’s contribution to global transitional justice norm and policy, this course examines how the pursuit of post-conflict justice is theorised and tackles the puzzle of its unintended effects on peace-building in post-conflict societies.
The course starts out by introducing transitional justice as a field study and practice, with a focus on the nature of contemporary violence to contextualise human rights violations for which justice is sought. The first part of the course relates the emergence of a global norm of transitional justice to the lessons from Europe’s history, such as the legacies of the Nuremberg Trials and Germany’s coming to terms with the Holocaust. The second part of the course is a comparative assessment of three key mechanisms of transitional justice: international trials, truth and reconciliation commissions, and lustration, with empirical examples from Europe and beyond. The third part addresses transitional justice as public policy with a focus on the European Union. In conclusion, the course addresses the question how we know and study the effects of transitional justice, and reflects critically on theorising, methods and data in transitional justice research.
The course engages with multi-disciplinary literature and approaches to transitional justice which have defined the emergence of this new field of study. The course provides a critical evaluation of theories of transitional justice and draws implications for policy making.
This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 25 hours across Michaelmas Term. The teaching will be delivered this year through a combination of online and on-campus formats (or if required, online only). This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.
The course will provide or mediate additional learning opportunities, such as research seminars on topics directly linked to the theme(s) covered in the course. These will serve to reinforce learning objectives by creating an opportunity for students to engage with core issues outside regular classes.
Students will be expected to produce 1 exercise, 1 presentation and 1 essay in the MT.
- Bakiner, Onur (2016) Truth Commissions: Memory, Power, and Legitimacy (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania University Press)
- Chinkin, Christine and Kaldor, Mary (2018) International Law and New Wars (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
- Cohen, Stanley (2000) States of Denial: Knowing About Atrocities and Suffering (Cambridge: Polity Press)
- Duyvesteyn, Isabelle and Angstrom, Jan (eds) (2005) Rethinking the Nature of War (London: Frank Cass)
- Heller, Kevin Jon (2011) The Nuremberg Military Tribunals and the Origins of International Criminal Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
- Hughes, James and Denisa Kostovicova (eds) (2018) Rethinking Reconciliation and Transitional Justice After Conflict (Abingdon: Routledge)
- Murphy, Colleen (2017) The Conceptual Foundations of Transitional Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
- Orentlicher, Diane (2018) Some Kind of Justice: The ICTY’s Impact in Bosnia and Serbia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
- O’Rourke, Catherine (2013), Gender Politics in Transitional Justice (Abingdon: Routledge)
- Roht-Arriaza, Naomi, Mariezcurrena, Javier (eds) (2006) Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Truth versus Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
- Sharp, Dustin N. (2018), Rethinking Transitional Justice for the Twenty-First Century: Beyond the End of History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
- Shall, Rosalind, Waldorf, Lars, Hazan, Pierre (eds) (2010) Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities after Mass Violence (Stanford: Stanford University Press).
- Teitel, Ruti (2013) Humanity’s Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the LT.
Course selection videos
Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.
Department: European Institute
Total students 2020/21: 31
Average class size 2020/21: 16
Controlled access 2020/21: Yes
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Team working
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills
- Specialist skills