Confronting Past Human Rights Violations
Routledge – 2006 – 244 pages
Series: Cass Series on Peacekeeping
This book examines what makes accountability for previous violations more or less possible for transitional regimes to achieve. It closely examines the other vital goals of such regimes against which accountability is often balanced. The options available are not simply prosecution or pardon, as the most heated polemics of the debate over transitional justice suggest, but a range of options from complete amnesty through truth commissions and lustration or purification to prosecutions. The question, then, is not whether or not accountability can be achieved, but what degree of accountability can be achieved by a given country.
The focus of the book is on the politics of transition: what makes accountability more or less feasible and what strategies are deployed by regimes to achieve greater accountability (or alternatively, greater reform). The result is a more nuanced understanding of the different conditions and possibilities that countries face, and the lesson that there is no one-size-fits-all prescription that can be handed to transitional regimes.
Introduction: Justice vs. peace in times of transition 1. What makes accountability possible? 2. Global experiences in transitional justice 3. El Salvador: 'Negotiated revolution' and the truth commission 4. Argentina: Struggle for accountability 5. Honduras: Justice in semi-transition 6. South Africa: The exchange of truth for justice 7. Sri Lanka: Justice in the midst of war Conclusion Compromises of transition Bibliography
Chandra Lekha Sriram is a lecturer in the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews, where she teaches international relations and international law, and human rights. She obtained her doctorate from Princeton University in 2000.