Epilogue

Transitional justice and Its Normalization--Fin de Siecle

Consider to what extent the recurring discourse of the last years of the twentieth century is one of transitional justice. There is a persistent call for apologies, reparations, memoirs, (individual and collective), and all manner of account settling relating to past suffering and wrongdoing. Instances abound regarding settlements for World War II--related controversies, lost bank accounts, property restitution, reparations for slave labor, return of confiscated objects. Perhaps the most obvious instance of normalization of transitional jurisprudence is the entrenching of the postwar international military tribunal in the proposed international criminal court, the new international institution at century's end. There is apparently an ever-expanding discourse of rights claiming and accountability.

This turn to the rituals associated with political flux discussed in this book occurs at a time of periodization of centennial and millennial dimensions. The turn to these rituals in the context of meta-transition appears a pervasive attempt to construct collective passage. In the contemporary moment, the social rituals of passage appear not to derive from religion but from the law. These are the secular rites and symbols of passage, harbingers neither of apocalypse, nor of messianism, but of what appears to be the paradigmatic transitional conception: of bounded change. Transitional jurisprudence's appeal is that it offers the closure that passage brings. But it does so at a cost. Every act of transition implies an ambivalent resolution. These liberal rites perform political passage by constructing discontinuities and continuity, destruction and reproduction, disappropiation and reappropiation, disavowal and avowal. These rituals attempt to relegate to the past the worst of this century, while also propounding a workable shared narrative for the future. By these practices, a line is drawn delineating the parameters of that collective memory to be preserved: what is to be remembered and what repressed; what is to be abandoned and

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Transitional Justice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 3
  • Chapter One - the Rule of Law in Transition 11
  • Chapter Two - Criminal Justice 27
  • Chapter Three - Historical Justice 69
  • Chapter Four - Reparatory Justice 119
  • Chapter Five - Administrative Justice 149
  • Chapter Six - Constitutional Justice 191
  • Chapter Seven - Toward a Theory of Transitional Justice 213
  • Epilogue 229
  • Notes 231
  • Index 285
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