Fall 2012

Human Rights and Transitional Justice Seminar Series

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Session 1:

Transitional Justice Foundations – Massive human rights violations in conflict and dictatorship and the idea of Transitional Justice as part of the response

September 27, 2012
4:00 - 5:30 pm
Carr Center Conference Room (R-219)

Session Overview:

  • An introduction to the seminar series
  • Overview of types of massive human rights abuses and patterns of impunity in conflict
  • The idea of transitional justice being used to challenge impunity

Session Leader: 

Charlie Clements, Exceutive Director, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

Suggested Readings:

Post-Session Review/Summary:

Session 2:

Transitional Justice Toolkit - Prosecuting war criminals (case study of the Zardad trial)

October 11, 2012
4:00 - 5:30 pm
Carr Center Conference Room (R-219)

Commander Zardad was one of the most famous field commanders during Afghanistan’s factional conflict of the 1990’s. He was best known for abuses committed against wayfarers passing through a check-post on the Jalalabad – Kabul highway. He was eventually prosecuted in the Old Bailey London for crimes of torture. The case study uses the experience of taking this Afghan commander to court to illustrate the challenge of prosecuting war criminals in a transitional justice process.

Session Leader:

Michael Semple, Fellow, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

Suggested Readings:

Follow-Up Materials:

Session 3:

Transitional Justice Foundations – The place of transitional justice in international interventions

October 25, 2012
4:00 - 5:30 pm
Carr Center Conference Room (R-219)

  • Overview of the approach to transitional justice where the international community has supported post-conflict transitions
  • Reconciling transitional justice with other objectives in the tradition
  • The story of the peace versus justice debate and fate of the transitional justice action plan in Afghanistan

Follow-Up Materials:

Session 4:

Transitional Justice Toolkit (case study of vetting in the security sector and elections)

November 8, 2012
4:00 - 5:30 pm
Carr Center Conference Room (R-219)


Vetting was applied extensively in post-Taliban Afghanistan and seemed to be one area in which transitional justice ideas were applied in practice. During Security Sector Reform, officers being considered for appointment in the new armed services were vetted for past abuses. Parliamentary candidates were also subject to vetting. Significant controversy surrounds both these processes. And yet many Afghans endorsed the idea of purging past abusers. The case study considers lessons learned about how transitional justice can inform institutional reform.

Follow-Up Materials:

 

Session 5:

Witness and exposes (case study of the Taliban massacres)

December 6, 2012
2:00 - 3:30 pm     *NOTE TIME AND LOCATION CHANGE*
Fainsod Conference Room (Littauer Building, 3rd floor)

Light refreshments will be served at 2:00pm


During the Taliban military campaign to subdue northern and central Afghanistan, between 1996 and 2001, the Taliban army was accused of a series of massacres and other acts of extreme violence against the civilian population and prisoners. Despite significant obstacles, international organisations and civil society succeeded in gathering testimony, documenting the abuses and publicising them. The case study considers the process of recording testimony on such abuses and the impact of the documentation of the Taliban massacres. It uses this experience as an illustration of the place of testimony and documentation in transitional justice strategy.


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