Transitional Justice and Rule of Law Programming - LW912

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
(version 2)
View Timetable
7 20 (10) DR V Arnould







This course engages in an examination of the different approaches to transitional justice – trials, truth and reconciliation commissions, vetting/lustration, reparations, traditional justice mechanisms, and memorials – and a critical discussion of some of the political, normative, and conceptual underpinnings of transitional justice. It adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of transitional justice, drawing on perspectives from the disciplines of law, political science, history, anthropology and criminology about the nature of international crimes, justice and reconciliation. The course aims to give students an understanding of how transitional justice operates, the challenges faced in implementing transitional justice, the variations in transitional justice practices across space and time, and emerging contestations around the scope and effectiveness of transitional justice.


This module appears in:


Spring Term

Method of assessment

This module offers 2 patterns of assessment A & B, the pattern applied will be at the discretion of the convenor.

Assessment pattern A
100% assessment by course work (2 essays).
1 short paper addressing key themes of the course (1,000 words), which will provide students with an opportunity for early feedback on their written presentation skills and critical understanding of transitional justice
1 longer essay (4,000 words) on a research topic of students' choice.

Assessment pattern B
Students will be assessed through 2 assignments. They will be asked to participate in a simulation exercise, their individual contribution to which will comprise 20% of the final grade. The exercise will require the students to prepare briefing notes and position papers concerning a hypothetical project in a situation of, normally, post conflict reconstruction.
1 longer essay (4,000 words comprising 80% of the final grade), on a research topic of students' choice.

Indicative reading

McEvoy Kieran and McGregor Lorna (2008), Transitional Justice from Below: Grassroots Activism and the Struggle for Change, Oxford: Hart Publishing.

Murphy Colleen (2017), The Conceptual Foundations of Transitional Justice, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schabas William (2012), Unimaginable Atrocities, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Teitel Ruti (2000), Transitional Justice, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

? Understanding the range of options that are available to communities and policy makers to respond to grave human rights violations committed under authoritarian rule or in armed conflict, and understanding the complementarities and tensions between different transitional justice instruments.
? Understanding the different factors – legal, socio-political, institutional, historic, psychological – that shape responses to such human rights violations. The module will also encourage students to critically assess transitional justice variability (in terms of design, implementation, and impact) across countries.
? Awareness of some of the key controversies surrounding transitional justice, and the interplay between the normative, legal and political dimensions of transitional justice.
? Ability to critically reflect on the realities of devising a transitional justice policy, and the roles which is played by different stakeholders (local, national and international).

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