GOVT-728 Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law
Fall for 2016-2017
This course will examine the challenges countries face as they attempt to emerge from violent conflict or authoritarian rule. To aid in a successful transition, the international community typically engages these countries in the processes of transitional justice, rule-of-law building, and democratization. The course will analyze these transitional processes as they relate to each other as well as to the broader objective of successful transition. First, the course will consider whether democracy can in fact prevent relapse into regimes that violate basic human rights and humanitarian law; whether democracy is reconcilable with diverse cultures and even ethnic hatred. The course will then examine transitional justice including criminal tribunals, truth and reconciliation commissions (TRCs), as well as vetting processes, restitution schemes, and indigenous justice experiments. Country studies will include Sierra Leone, East Timor, the former Yugoslavia, Peru, South Africa, Poland, Rwanda, and Iraq. Students will study the strengths and weaknesses of these mechanisms; the political challenges of implementing international criminal law to the domestic context; and the impact of limited security, timing, and resources. The course will then incorporate rule of law reform and democratization in order to present students with a realistic picture of all the processes, which the international community advances concurrently in transitioning countries. Students will be encouraged to recognize complementarities between these processes. Finally, the course will consider the West’s interests in transition towards democracy, particularly in light of the war on terror and the current United States strategy in the Middle East.
Other academic years
There is information about this course number in other academic years: