What lessons can we learn from history, and more importantly: how?
This question is as commonplace as it is essential. Efficient transitional justice policy evaluation requires, inter alia, an historical dimension. What policy has or has not worked in the past is an obvious key question. Nevertheless, history as a profession remains somewhat absent in the multi-disciplinary field of transitional justice. The idea that we should learn lessons from history continues to create unease among most professional historians.
In his critical introduction, the editor investigates the framework of this unease. At the core of this book are nine national European case studies (post 1945, the 1970s dictatorships, post 1989) which implement the true scholarly advantage of historical research for the field of transitional justice: the broad temporal space. All nine case studies tackle the longer-term impact of their country’s transitional justice policies. Two comparative conclusions, amongst others by the internationally renowned transitional justice specialist Luc Huyse, complete this collection.
This volume is a major contribution in the search for synergies between the agenda of historical research and the rapidly developing field of transitional justice.
‘The most sophisticated study to date of transitional justice. Responding to a thoughtful and well-elaborated conceptual framework, contributors explore transitional justice in nine European countries in the aftermath of civil and interstate wars. The collective findings document the variety of responses, some of the reasons for them, their consequences for justice, healing and democratic reconstruction and the important role played by official and collective memories. This is a must read for academics and policymakers alike.’
Richard Ned Lebow, Professor of International Political Theory in the War Studies Department of King’s College London and the James O. Freedman Presidential Professor (Emeritus) of Government at Dartmouth College
‘Surprisingly, we needed the detour of studying faraway tyrannies and wars to rethink in terms of transitional justice the legacy of painful pasts and the persistence of traumatic memories in postwar Europe. This impressive book offers a tableau of incisive country studies inspired by this new approach. Firmly embedded in comparative analysis and theoretical reflection, it should be in the hand luggage of the non-existent but dearly needed Special Rapporteur on Transitional Justice of the Council of Europe.’
Antoon De Baets, author of Responsible History, University of Groningen
The Use of History in the Field of Transitional Justice: A Critical Introduction (p. 1)Nico Wouters
West Germany: A Case of Transitional Justice avant la lettre? (p. 25)
Changing Things so Everything Stays the Same: The Impossible “épuration” of French Society, 1945–2000 (p. 63)
A Consensus of Differences. Transitional Justice and Belgium’s Divided War Memories (1944–2012) (p. 95)Nico Wouters
Transitional Justice in the Netherlands after World War II (p. 133)
From Ruptured Transition to Politics of Silence: the Case of Portugal (p. 173)
Amnesty and Reparations Without Truth or Justice in Spain (p. 199)
Transitional Justice after the Collapse of Dictatorship in Greece (1974–2000) (p. 259)
The Incomplete Transition in Hungary (p. 289)
The Polish Paradox: Transition from and to Democracy (p. 327)
Comparing Transitional Justice Experiences in Europe (p. 351)
About the Authors (p. 413)
Parts of this book have been made open access. We make chapters open access because they are particularly topical, or provide a useful introduction to the subject. They may be available for a limited time or indefinitely. Some books are entirely and permanently open access.
Countries emerging from long periods of authoritarian rule must often confront a legacy of gross human rights abuses perpetrated over many years. During the past two decades, these age-old issues have been termed “problems of transitional justice”, both by academics and policy makers around the world. Given the frequency with which these problems arise, as well as the complexity of the issues involved, it is striking that no book series has taken the issue of transitional justice as its point of focus.
The Series on Transitional Justice offers a platform for high-quality research within the rapidly growing field of transitional justice. This research is, of necessity, inter-disciplinary in nature, drawing from disciplines such as law, political science, history, sociology, criminology, anthropology and psychology, as well as from various specialised fields of study such as human rights, victimology and peace studies. It is furthermore international in outlook, drawing on the knowledge and experience of academics and other specialists in many different regions of the world.
The series is aimed at a variety of audiences who are either working or interested in fields such as crime and justice; human rights; humanitarian law and human security; conflict resolution and peace building. These audiences may include academics, researchers, students, policy makers, practitioners, non-governmental organisations and the media.
- Prof. Stephan Parmentier (University of Leuven, Belgium)
- Prof. Jeremy Sarkin (NOVA University of Lisbon School of Law, Portugal) and
- Dr. Mina Rauschenbach (Université de Lausanne, Switzerland and University of Leuven, Belgium)
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