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The Legacy of Crimes and Crises

Transitional Justice, Domestic Change and the Role of the International Community


Edited By Klaus Bachmann and Dorota Heidrich

The book shows how transitional justice experiences influence domestic change and what the role of the international community in these processes is. It is divided into three thematic parts. The first one presents regional and local transitional justice efforts, aiming at showing different mechanisms implemented within transitional justice mechanisms. The following part deals with the role and impact of international criminal tribunals set up to prosecute grave human rights abuses. The third part is devoted to the role of the international community in mass atrocity crimes prevention. The contributions prove that transitional justice measures are not universal. Rather, they must be characterized by the principle of local ownership and be crafted to circumstances on the ground.
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Allan Rutambo Ngari - Dealing with the Legacy of Mass Atrocities in the Great Lakes – Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo


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Allan Rutambo Ngari

Dealing with the Legacy of Mass Atrocities in the Great Lakes: Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The field of transitional justice has been subject of much speculation and debate. Some posit that it has its origins in law, and particularly international law and comity, where the concepts of human rights violations, accountability for these violations and democratic values find their home. Others assert that to confine the field of transitional justice to law is not only erroneous but a reductionist and simplistic view of a host of other disciplines and factors that are at the heart of transitional justice mechanisms.1 To understand transitional justice therefore, one has to search further than the treatises and digests of a library or the discourse of academics and philosophers, relevant as these sources may be. Composed of a wide spectrum of issues ranging from retribution to restoration, one of the key goals of transitional justice is to promote peaceful co-existence, foster the rule of law, and establish democratic values in society.

Over the past five decades, all African states have been or are in some form of transition – from colonialism, apartheid or oppressive regimes to democracy and the respect for the rule of law. If the term transitional justice is taken to signify “the full range of processes and mechanisms associated with a society’s attempts to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses, in order...

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