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Preventing Future Human Rights Violations - Truth Commissions or Tribunals?

Isaksson, Josefine (2009)
Department of Law
Abstract
In the past few decades the ways of addressing past atrocities in states on the verge of transition from abusive regimes to human rights abiding democracies have developed into an area of international law commonly known as 'Transitional Justice'. The focus lies on facilitating the transition through different measures with the purpose of addressing the past and seeking reparation for the victims. Transitional justice includes a wide variation of measures, some judicial in their nature and some more political, social or cultural. In this thesis I will focus on two of them, ad hoc tribunals and truth commissions, and make a comparative study where I try to answer the question of which one of those two measures is best at preventing future... (More)
In the past few decades the ways of addressing past atrocities in states on the verge of transition from abusive regimes to human rights abiding democracies have developed into an area of international law commonly known as 'Transitional Justice'. The focus lies on facilitating the transition through different measures with the purpose of addressing the past and seeking reparation for the victims. Transitional justice includes a wide variation of measures, some judicial in their nature and some more political, social or cultural. In this thesis I will focus on two of them, ad hoc tribunals and truth commissions, and make a comparative study where I try to answer the question of which one of those two measures is best at preventing future human rights violations in transitional states. These measures are different in both theory and practice and have been used in different contexts and for somewhat different purposes. The thesis consists of two parts, a theoretical part where I compare the different theories, retributive versus restorative justice, and try to find the arguments pro and con each approach, as well as a more practical part where I compare different situations where states have used either tribunals or truth commissions in order to address the past. Through an examination of the tribunals of former Yugoslavia and Rwanda as well as the Special Court of Sierra Leone I explore the successes and failings of some of the most prominent ad hoc tribunals so far which I use as a base for comparison with the truth commissions I have chosen in order to get a broad picture of the measure&semic South Africa, El Salvador and the Truth and Reconciliation commission of Sierra Leone. As recommendations for states contemplating the aforementioned transitional justice measure I will argue, based on my findings, that whether or not they will be successful is dependant on a lot of different factors, the most important being that it should carefully take into account the context and the specific situation in the transitional society. (Less)
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author
Isaksson, Josefine
supervisor
organization
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Folkrätt
language
English
id
1558550
date added to LUP
2010-03-08 15:55:22
date last changed
2010-03-08 15:55:22
@misc{1558550,
  abstract     = {In the past few decades the ways of addressing past atrocities in states on the verge of transition from abusive regimes to human rights abiding democracies have developed into an area of international law commonly known as 'Transitional Justice'. The focus lies on facilitating the transition through different measures with the purpose of addressing the past and seeking reparation for the victims. Transitional justice includes a wide variation of measures, some judicial in their nature and some more political, social or cultural. In this thesis I will focus on two of them, ad hoc tribunals and truth commissions, and make a comparative study where I try to answer the question of which one of those two measures is best at preventing future human rights violations in transitional states. These measures are different in both theory and practice and have been used in different contexts and for somewhat different purposes. The thesis consists of two parts, a theoretical part where I compare the different theories, retributive versus restorative justice, and try to find the arguments pro and con each approach, as well as a more practical part where I compare different situations where states have used either tribunals or truth commissions in order to address the past. Through an examination of the tribunals of former Yugoslavia and Rwanda as well as the Special Court of Sierra Leone I explore the successes and failings of some of the most prominent ad hoc tribunals so far which I use as a base for comparison with the truth commissions I have chosen in order to get a broad picture of the measure&semic South Africa, El Salvador and the Truth and Reconciliation commission of Sierra Leone. As recommendations for states contemplating the aforementioned transitional justice measure I will argue, based on my findings, that whether or not they will be successful is dependant on a lot of different factors, the most important being that it should carefully take into account the context and the specific situation in the transitional society.},
  author       = {Isaksson, Josefine},
  keyword      = {Folkrätt},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Preventing Future Human Rights Violations - Truth Commissions or Tribunals?},
  year         = {2009},
}