UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


SEES0119 Understanding "Transitional Justice": Crime, Punishment and Process

UCL Credit Value: 15

ECTS Value: 7.5

Term 2

Module Coordinator: Dr Eric Gordy

Taught By: Dr Eric Gordy

Weekly Contact Hours: 2.0
Prerequisites: none
This module is compulsory for students on the following programmes:

Summative Assessment

3000 word coursework (100%)

Formative Assessment

Case studies + oral presentations in the seminars

Module Outline

Although crimes committed in the course of violent conflict have traditionally remained uninvestigated and unaddressed, the International Military Tribunals established at the end of the Second World War have led to greater demands for domestic and international responses. Following on that conflict, the adoption of the Genocide Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights marked turning points in the adoption of standards and the generation of means for their enforcement. The first international criminal tribunal was established in 1993 to prosecute violations committed in the wars of Yugoslav succession, followed by the establishment of a number of other ad hoc tribunals and the International Criminal Court in 2002.

This seminar seeks to explore issues of prosecution and punishment of crime, of the construction of public memory and forgetting, and alternative strategies to criminal prosecution. We will both explore and interrogate the emerging category of “transitional justice,” and consider research on the consequences (or lack of them) of efforts to generate a social confrontation with the past.

Background reading

Ratner, Steven, Jason Abrams, and James Bischoff. Accountability for human rights atrocities in international law: Beyond the Nuremberg legacy (3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2009)

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy and Philippe Bourgois (eds.), Violence in war and peace: An anthology (Blackwell, 2003)

Please note: This outline is accurate at the time of publication. Minor amendments may be made prior to the start of the academic year.