Transitional Justice in Post-Conflict Societies: What Works Best?

July 16, 2010 // 10:00am4:00pm
Event Co-sponsors: 
Africa Program

An official Wilson Center publication of this event's proceedings and outcomes is currently in process.

Over the past twenty years, the notion of "transitional justice" has become one of the cornerstones of reconstruction frameworks and planning. Today, transitional justice mechanisms employ both traditional and western elements, as well as national and international participation. Debates ensue over whether, when and how to introduce such mechanisms and whether international ones, such as the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice, offer adequate capacity and authority for ensuring justice in the most egregious cases. The half-day, federally-sponsored conference, presented by the Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity, was broken into two sessions and one keynote addresses. The first session examined questions pertaining to the underlying concepts and frameworks of transitional justice, while the second presented a comparative case study analysis identifying the various ways in which transitional justice mechanisms can take shape. The case studies highlighted were El Salvador, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste, and Liberia.

Session 1: Transitional Justice Concepts and Frameworks

Steve McDonald, Consulting Director, the Africa Program and the Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Keynote Speaker
David Tolbert, President, International Center for Transitional Justice

Mark Goodale, Associate Professor, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University
Priscilla Hayner, Author, Unspeakable Truths: Transitional Justice and the Challenge of Truth Commissions
Wendy Lambourne, Senior Lecturer and Academic Coordinator, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney

Lisa Schirch, Director, 3D Security Initiatives

Luncheon and Discussion

Session 2: Comparative Case Studies

Steve McDonald, Consulting Director, the Africa Program and the Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Douglass Cassel, former Legal Adviser to the United Nations Commission on Truth for El Salvador, and Professor of Law, Notre Dame University
Jennifer Easterday, Trial Monitor for the Special Court on Sierra Leone, War Crimes Studies Center, University of California, Berkeley
Patrick Burgess, Asia Director, International Center for Transitional Justice, and former Director of Human Rights, UNTAET and UNMISET missions in Timor-Leste
Richard Joseph, Former Fellow for African Governance, The Carter Center, and Professor of International History and Politics, Northwestern University

Martin Kimani, Deputy Director, Ansari Africa Center at the Atlantic Council

Experts & Staff

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