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The Future of Transitional Justice: A Roundtable Discussion

Statue representing justice with two balanced scales.
March 3, 2015 - 1:00pm to 2:15pm
Manning Faculty Lounge, Stanford Law School

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The field of transitional justice has experienced renewed significance with the onset of the Arab Spring. Even as conflicts rage around them, individuals and groups from across the region are scrambling to understand ways in which other societies—within Latin America, Africa, and Asia—have managed the transition from authoritarianism and mass violence toward stability and—it is hoped—democracy and peace.


With these events in mind, the WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights & International Justice and Stanford Law School's Rule of Law Program and Human Rights Center are hosting a roundtable on The Future of Transitional Justice. This roundtable will address issues of transitional justice from a comparative perspective, focusing on emblematic transitional efforts (some successful, some partial, all contested) in various regions of the world with an emphasis on Cambodia, South Africa, Kenya, Tunisia, Syria, and Latin America. We will consider the particular challenges posed by the various transitional moments; the way in which relevant actors developed, negotiated, and implemented a transitional program; and the durability of the solutions adopted. This will occasion a consideration of such issues as:

-legal versus extralegal responses to mass atrocity;
the immediate and long-term effects of reconciliation efforts on communities;
-international and domestic responses to mass atrocity and the interplay between the two;
-the practical application of a philosophy of forgiveness;
-the compromises that get made;
-responding to the clarion call for reparations;
-and the role of international and domestic accountability mechanisms in fostering a domestic rights-respecting political culture.
The roundtable will bring together individuals who participated directly in these events in addition to academics who have studied them, including:

Amb. Christian Wenaweser, Former President of the ICC Assembly of States Parties
Jaya Ramji-Nogales of Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, an expert on human rights, refugee law & transitional justice mechanisms (particularly truth commissions and reparations)
Ron Slye of Seattle University School of Law, an expert on transitional justice and human rights with experience in South Africa, Kenya and Cambodia and a member of the Kenyan Truth, Justice & Reconciliation Commission
John Ciorciari of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy, an ASEAN specialist who has written extensively on Cambodia and comparative transitional justice
Youk Chhang, the founder & director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia and founder of the Sleuk Rith Institute, which aims to be the premier genocide education center and memorial for the region
Megan Karsh of the Stanford Rule of Law Program and former civil party representative before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
Beth Van Schaack, Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor in Human Rights, Stanford Law School
James L. Cavallaro, Professor of Law and Director of the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, Director of the Stanford Human Rights Center, and currently a Member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Claret Vargas, Executive Director, Stanford Human Rights Center, Stanford Law School