The Politics of Memory: Transitional Justice in Democratizing Societies

The Politics of Memory: Transitional Justice in Democratizing Societies

The Politics of Memory: Transitional Justice in Democratizing Societies

The Politics of Memory: Transitional Justice in Democratizing Societies

Synopsis

'The outstanding merit of this book lies in its value as a reference text. The excellent bibliographical survey of the literature includes web-based material and surveys the main debates about transitional truth and justice, compensation and restitution, the politics of memory including issues of commemoration... The icing on the rich cake of this book is provided by the 54 pages of references cited by the various authors, and including references for the works included in the bibliographical essay. The scholarship is apparent, and the value of this work - as a reference, and a detached, legal and scientific analysis in a field that is often heavy with emotion - is clear.' -The Global Review of Ethnopolitics'The chapters on countries/regions provide valuable insights into the specifics of the case studies they examine, and also contribute insights that have broader applicability. Many of these broader insights are brought together in the impressive encyclopedic analysis contained in the conclusion.' -The Global Review of Ethnopolitics'The book's overall conclusions on truth processes and commissions are particularly of interest to a Northern Ireland audience, where the debate continues about the viability or desirability of some formal truth process.' -The Global Review of Ethnopolitics'Highly recommended to students of transitions to democracy, human rights lawyers and activists, politicians and constitution-designers involved in the framing of institutions of new democracies and to the general public interested in the difficult struggles of Truth and Justice.' -Democratization'This interdisciplinary study is a welcome addition to the literature... the book maintains an internal coherence, an aim difficult to achieve in this kind of collective work. It is an illuminating interdisciplinary contribution to the topic, enriched from different perspectives and disciplines.' -DemocratizationThis book explores how new governments and societies deal with a legacy of past repression, in Portugal, Spain, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Germany after reunification, as well as Russia, the Southern Cone of Latin America and Central America, as well as South Africa. It looks at official truth commissions, trials and amnesties and purges and unofficial social initiatives to deal with the past. The book also assesses the significance of forms of reckoning with the past for a process of democratic deepening as well as the importance of international actors in shaping policies to deal with past legacies in some of the countries examined.

Excerpt

Naomi Roht-Arriaza

The response of an incoming government to past crimes and gross violations of human rights will depend primarily on a combination of domestic political, military, and socioeconomic factors. However, international influences and institutions play an increasing role in shaping and affecting these processes. International efforts are in turn shaped partly by the perceived success or failure of domestic attempts to deal with the past. This chapter focuses on three areas in which these mutual influences manifest themselves. First, it examines the impact of international and transnational activity on the work of national courts, truth commissions, reparation schemes, and political discourses about the past. It takes into account that the human rights bodies of the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation of American States (OAS) have produced standards and treaties on which legal cases and political mobilization in several countries have been based. Further, it shows how the transnationalization of human rights activist networks, and the flow of knowledge through those networks, have allowed different countries to learn from one another.

Transnational justice also takes the form of legal actions brought in the national courts of one country against civil or criminal defendants based in another. the most notable example, although by no means the only one, is the attempted Spanish prosecution of former Chilean dictator (1973-90), General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte. These transnational cases raise the second possibility of simultaneous actions in multiple arenas. a third area of influence is the creation of new international institutions for

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