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CS2016 - TJ and the Politics of Memorialisation

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Yvan Guichaoua

on 28 March 2017

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Transcript of CS2016 - TJ and the Politics of Memorialisation

Transitional Justice & the Politics of Memorialisation
Holistic approach needed

All processes have intrinsic value yet serve the overarching aim of durable peace and (liberal?) democracy

Incomplete processes might lead to bad outcomes

PS: lots of different exciting jobs possible
Transitional Justice. Requirements?
General debates
Where should trials be located?
Double standard logic?
Permanent international tribunal
Covers genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes
(see http://bit.ly/1HmH8l9)
Created in 1998 by the Rome Treaty
Countries that signed against the Treaty: China, Iraq, Yemen, Qatar, Libya, Israel and... the US
Based in The Hague
Ad hoc temporary tribunals
ICTR (Arusha)
ICTY (The Hague)
TJ tools. The International Criminal Court
Transitional Justice. A representation
Transitional Justice. A definition
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 to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation (de Greiff)
Violence [in civil wars] is either incompletely related or totally unrelated to the dominant discourse of the war. […] Civil wars are made up of a mosaic of discrete mini-wars (Kalyvas 2006, p. 371)

--> Civil wars involve nested macro- and micro- (private) dynamics
Meanings of war and implications for justice
Introduction. Meanings of war and implications for justice
Transitional Justice. Definitions and debates
Transitional Justice. Tools
1.3M killed in Auschwitz, inc. 1.1 Jews, all socialist martyrs?

Building national identity out of victimhood?

‘how does a state incorporate shame into its national memorial landscape?’ A counter-monument? How to make it meaningful for younger generations?
1) Truth-telling (voice of the victims)

2) Truth-hearing (institutions designed to listen to victims)
Truth and reconciliation commissions
Success in South Africa and Latin America
Dysfunctional process in Sierra Leone
--> Key question of ownership again

3) Truth-shaping (memorialisation)
Northern Ireland Lost Lives
Remembering the Holocaust
TJ tools. Truth
Run from 1994 to 2012
Mandate: “Prosecution of persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994”
Timeframe covered by the mandate

Discrepancy between resources mobilised and cases treated
TJ tools. Case Study. ICTR
it’s bad for peace settlements
it prolongs violence
it’s not the job of the West to replace leaders

HRW: stigmatising criminals...
doesn’t harm peace processes
is a signal sent to other actors of the conflict
can undermine international support to warlords
Feasibility. Resources are scarce


Competing goals?
--> Punishment of perpetrators v Reconciliation, i.e. Law v Politics
Transitional Justice. Debates
The frontier being often blurred between perpetrators and victims, is justice even possible?
Can post-conflict policies accommodate everyone’s needs?

"Interveners cannot know dozens of different local situations in depth" (Autesserre 2010, p. 22)
The three functions of TJ
Case Study. De Waal-MSF vs Human Rights Watch on issuing arrest warrants against warlords
(e.g. Omar Al-Bashir in Sudan, 2009)
ICTR – Factsheet
The Trouble with ICTR
Political uses of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (April 1943)
Memorialisation of the Holocaust in comparative perspective (Young 2010)
Why is the story of an uprising important for Israel's national narrative?

Was Mordecai Anielewicz a hero?

How many combatants?

Was an Israeli flag waved during combat? Which role for the Beitar?
“The past is never dead. It's not even past.”
William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun
ICTR took 17 years and a budget of US$ 1.5 billion to judge 75 cases, the Ga­caca courts issued nearly two million verdicts in 10 years with US$ 52 million
Definitions and debates
‘Professionalisation’ of witnesses on both sides, with dubious survivors’ testimonies. ‘It’s witnesses that make the criminal, not the crime’

An alternative? Gacaca. Problematic too:
malicious denunciations, victor’s justice etc.
See: http://bit.ly/1UD0mL4
Why is telling the story of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising still a minefield today in Israel
If memories are so controversial (and harmful?), why not just binning them?
Historical precedent
The Edict of Nantes (1598)
But who decides for the obliteration of history?
Success of such enterprises unlikely in absence of parallel elaboration of consensual social contract
Full transcript