Transitional Justice


This is a cutting edge course that combines learning of international law, international criminal law, international humanitarian law into that of the discipline of transitional justice. The students learn the component parts of TJ.. They learn how to analyze  what TJ is, where it is applied, the theoretical issues concerning the field, and how it is applied in practice. They learn research and writing skills.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Jeremy Sarkin


Weekly - 2

Total - 24

Teaching language



Not Applicable


Bassiouni, M. Cherif. Post Conflict Justice. Transnational Publishers. 2001.


Bassiouni, M. Cherif. Introduction to International Criminal Law.Transnational Publishers. 2003.


Cassese, Antonio. International Criminal Law. Oxford University Press. 2003.


De Than, Claire, and Shorts, Edwin. International Criminal Law and Human Rights. Sweet and Maxwell. 2003.


Hayner, Priscilla. Unspeakable Truths: Facing the Challenge of Truth Commissions. Routledge. 2002


Hazan, Pierre, Justice in a time of war: The true story behind the International

Criminal Tribunal, A & M University Press, September 15, 2004


Herz, John H., ed. From Dictatorship to Democracy: Coping with the Legacies of Authoritarianism and Totalitarianism (1982).


Khan, Karim and Dixon, Rodney. Archbold International Criminal Courts: Practice, Procedure, and Evidence. Sweet and Maxwell. 2005.


Kritz, Neil. Transitional Justice, United States Institute of Peace. 1995.


Kurspahic, Kemal. Prime Time War: Balkan Media in War and Peace. United States Institute of Peace. 2003.


Martin, Francisco Forrest, Schnably, Stephen, Wilson, Richard, Simon, Jonathan, and Tushnet, Mark. International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law: Treaties, Cases, and Analysis. Cambridge University Press.2006


McAdams, James, ed., Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law in New Democracies  (1997)


Mani, Rama. Beyond Retribution: Seeking Justice in the Shadows of War. Polity. 2002.


Minow, Martha. Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence (1998)


Neier, Aryeh. The Quest for Justice, N.Y. Rev. Books, Mar. 8, 2001


Nesiah, Vesuki, ¿Coming to Terms with Irreconcilable Truths,¿ in Roads to Reconciliation, eds. Elin Skaar, Siri Gloppen and Astri Suhrke (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2005), 279.


Power, Samantha, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, Basic books 2002 A Member of the Perseus Books Group


Robert, R.I. and Thompson, D. (Eds), Truth V. Justice: The Morality of Truth Commissions, Princeton: University press 2002


Roth-Arriaza, Naomi, The Pinochet Effect: Transnational Justice in the Age of Human Rights. University of Pennsylvania Press 2004


Schabas, William. The UN International Criminal Tribunals: The Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. Cambridge University Press. 2006.


Scharf, Michael. Balkan Justice: The Story of the First International War Crimes Trial Since Nuremberg. Carolina Academic Press. 1997.


Van Schaack, International Criminal Law and Its Enforcement: Cases and Materials. Foundation Press. 2007.


Wittmann, Rebecca. Beyond Justice: The Auschwitz Trial. Harvard University Press. 2005.


Wilson, Richard J. and  Rasmussen, Jennifer, Promoting Justice: A Practical Guide to Strategic Human Rights Lawyering (2001 International Human Rights Law Group)


Wittmann, Rebecca, Beyond Justice: The Auschwitz Trial, Harvard University Press 2005

Teaching method

Students do class assignments and an exam.

Evaluation method

Lecture, seminar, reading beforehand from readings posted on Moodle. Each class the students must do a memorandum on the work in the class. Discussion  is a key part. Students need to prepare for each class and participate.

Subject matter

Dealing with these past injustices has been a crucial test for new democratic orders. Facing the tensions between truth, justice, reconciliation and peace, the transitional process entails tremendous challenges. A number of countries have had to resolve similar problems: should or must they punish human rights violations committed under the old order? Is an amnesty permissible and necessary in the interest of peace, reconciliation and unity? Does a society need an official accounting and acknowledgment of the wrongs of the past? How can the victims of human rights violations be assisted in some way and have their dignity restored? The course examines how the international community as well as new democracies deals with these issues. The course examines a number of broader issues such as the role of reparations, reconciliation, amnesties, and truth commissions.