2017 - 2018
|FACULTY OF LAW|
Prof. Leora Bilsky
Transitional justice scholarship studies legal responses to collective violence, and asks how these responses affect collective memory and the state's liberalization. Unlike a military revolution that sustains its authority by brute force; democratic regimes are committed to the rule of law and are inclined to address the evils of the previous regime with the help of legal devices. However, the new regime's commitment to the rule of law also makes it aware of the dangers of using ex post facto laws and indulging in 'victor's justice.' At such times, the various expectations from the law—to punish the guilty, ascertain the truth about the old regime, and enhance reconciliation in society—seem to overwhelm the legal system and to push it in opposite directions. As a result, trials of transition bring to the foreground the clash between politics and justice. In this course we will focus on the two main approaches to the problem which have evolved since World War II: exemplary criminal trials (Nuremberg, Eichmann, and others) and truth commissions, and examine them from the perspective of the relationship between law and politics. We will consider the politics of domestic transitional measures as well as of international criminal trials and other transnational legal mechanisms used in political transitions.
Grade Components: Each student is required to write 4 one-page response papers. These papers will not be graded, but are required in order to pass the class + 100% Final exam