Beyond Transitional Justice: From the Individual to the Community

Please note: This page refers to a course that has already taken place.

Time:

02 - 04 Dec 2015

Place:

PRIO, Hausmanns gate 3, Oslo

Organizer:

Inger Skjelsbæk (PRIO/UiO) and Nora Sveaass (UiO)

Credits:

5 ECTS (10 ECTS with research article)

Contact:

Covadonga Morales Bertrand: covi@prio.no

Lecturers:

Prof. Harvey Weinstein (Human Rights Center, University of California Berkeley), with Elin Skaar, Chr. Michelsen Institute; Anne Margrete Sønneland, Diakomhjemmet University College; Inger Skjelsbæk (UiO and PRIO); and Nora Sveaas (UiO).​​

​The course focuses on psychological aspects of transitional justice in the area of population or societal responses, critiques of PTSD, the dangers of victimhood as a social identity, and the myth of reconciliation. The course will have a topical approach to these themes through focus on transitional justice mechanisms from the Balkans, Africa and the Americas.

Course Description:

Over the past twenty years, the global community has shown a renewed commitment to the pursuit of international criminal justice. A hallmark development in this regard is the establishment of the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC). A central asset of the court is victim and witness participation, based on an assumption that this approach will benefit those who have been affected by the crimes and their communities. Court-based efforts to seek and achieve peace after conflict depend largely on perceptions of fairness—the fair treatment of victims and witnesses and their ability to seek justice in a court of law. Yet little is known about the experiences of victims who come before international courts. Why do they come and how do they interpret their experiences? Since the mid-1970s, social psychologists and legal scholars have surveyed people around the world who have participated in judicial proceedings involving crimes committed in domestic jurisdictions to understand what it is about such processes that leads participants to consider them fair or unfair, and ultimately to accept or reject the outcome of such proceedings. Almost universally, these procedural justice studies have found that witnesses define a "fair process" as one that is based largely on three criteria described; benevolence, the degree to which they perceive that the court officials, from judges to social workers, care about them and their experiences; neutrality, the extent to which they have been able to talk about their experiences in a neutral and unbiased forum; and respect, the extent to which they have been treated in a professional and dignified manner.

Those involved in judicial processes are looking for signs that they can trust court officials. For this reason, showing the utmost respect to victims and witnesses at all phases of a judicial proceeding is key component for building trust in a court's authority and legitimacy, and ultimately the reconciliatory and therapeutic potential, if that is attainable? This course will explore these elements by focusing on:

  • Transitional justice mechanisms; from truth commissions to courts
  • Testimonies and interrogations; how to work with victims witnesses  
  • Individual and Community impact; paths to reconciliation, or not?

Schedule:

Wednesday 2 December

09:15 – 10:00: 1. Welcome and Introduction (Inger Skjelsbæk & Nora Sveaass)

10:00 – 11:30: 2. Open Lecture: Extending the Boundaries of Transitional Justice
with Clinical Professor (Ret'd) Harvey Weinstein, Human Rights Center, University of California Berkeley, Chair: Inger Skjelsbæk 

11:30 – 12:30: Lunch

12:30 – 13:30: 3. Nora Sveaass, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo Studying justice and reparation. The challenge of doing research with and on groups and individuals exposed to severe human rights abuses. Ethics, values and approaches

13:45 - 15:00: 4. Discussion of core themes from the day (with Harvey Weinstein and Nora Sveaass)

 

Thursday 3 December

09:15 – 11:00: 5. Anne Margrete Sønneland, Diakomhjemmet University College and Nora Sveaass, Department of Psychology University of Oslo – Justice and reparation in Peru and Argentina.  A study of victims' experience with transitional justice mechanisms in Latin America

11:15 – 12:00: 6. Discussion with Nora Sveaass and Anne Margrete Sønneland

12:00 – 13:00: Lunch

13:00 – 15:00: 7. Elin Skaar, Christian Michelsen Institute (CMI) – Truth Commissions in societies in transition?

15:15 – 16:00: 8. Discussion with Elin Skaar and Nora Sveaass

 

Friday 4 December

09:15 – 10:00: 9. Inger Skjelsbæk, Department of Psychology, Universiity of Oslo  – Sexual violence crimes and criminal prosecution. Bosnian experiences

10:15 – 11:00: 10. Harvey Weinstein Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley - Victim-Centered Approaches: Who Benefits? Perspectives from the Individual to the Community

11:00 – 12:00: 11. Discussion with Harvey Weinstein and Inger Skjelsbæk

12:00 – 13:00:  Lunch

13:00 – 15:00: 12. Ideas for course essays and research projects (all participants)

15:15 – 16.00: 13. Concluding discussion (Nora Sveaass and Inger Skjelsbæk)

Deadlines:

Applications: 30 October 2015.

Essay proposal: 15 December 2015

Essay submission: 1 March 2016

 

Requirements:

​In order to obtain 5 ECTS credits for the course, participants must get an overview of the readings, participate actively in the lectures and submit an essay of 3000–5000 words by 1 March 2016. An idea for the essay should be submitted by 15 December 2015 for acceptance by the coordinators.

10 ECTS credits can be obtained by writing a full research article (6000-9000 words). A proposal for the article (abstract of 200-400 words) should be submitted by 15 December 2015. A maximum of 6 research article proposals will be accepted, based on criteria of quality and relevance. The papers should be developed into full research articles  by 1 March 2016.

Please send the essay/article proposal and essay/articles to Covi@prio.no, and mark the e-mail [Transitional Justice]. 

Please use: Times New Roman, 1.5 Spacing, and remember to paginate your essay/article and include your name, affiliation and the date.

Admission:

​The deadline for applications is 30 October 2015. Please fill in the electronic course registration form.

There is no participation fee, but the cost of transportation and accommodation, if needed, must be covered by participants. Five stipends to cover basic accommodation at neighboring Anker Hotel are available for PhD students who do not have funding for such course participation through their universities. Applicants will be notified about the outcome of their application within a week after the deadline.

Course Literature:

See further below for readings per lecture.

Required reading:

  • Arthur, P. (2009). How "transitions" reshaped human rights: A conceptual history of transitional justice. Human Rights Quarterly, 31(2), 321-367. doi: 10.1353/hrq.0.0069
  • Fletcher, L. E., & Weinstein, H. M. (2002). Violence and social repair: Rethinking the contribution of justice to reconciliation. Human Rights Quarterly, 24(3), 573-639. doi: 10.1353/hrq.2002.0033
  • Gready, P., & Robins, S. (2014). From transitional to transformative justice: A new agenda for practice. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 8(3), 339-361. doi: 10.1093/ijtj/iju013
  • Hayner, P. B. (1994). Fifteen truth commissions—1974 to 1994: A comparative study. Human Rights Quarterly, 16(4), 597-655.
  • McEvoy, K., & McGregor, L. (Eds.). (2008). Transitional justice from below: Grassroots activism and the struggle for change. Portland, OR: Hart Publishing.
  • Skaar, E. (1999). Truth commissions: Trials or nothing? Policy options in democratic transitions. Third World Quarterly, 20(6), 1109-1128. doi: 10.1080/01436599913316
  • Skjelsbæk, I. (2015). The military perpetrator: A narrative analysis of sentencing judgments on sexual violence offenders at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 3(1). doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v3i1.273
  • Stover, E., & Weinstein, H. M. (Eds.). (2004). My neighbor, my enemy: Justice and community in the aftermath of mass atrocity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Sveaass, N. (2013). Gross human rights violations and reparation under international law: Approaching rehabilitation as a form of reparation. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 4. doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.17191
  • Wiebelhaus-Brahm, E. (2009). What is a truth commission and why does it matter? Peace and Conflict Review, 3(2), 1-14.

Added 30.11.2015:

  • Agger, I. (2015). Calming the mind: Healing after mass atrocity in Cambodia. Transcultural Psychiatry, 1 – 18. doi: 10.1177/1363461514568336. 
  • Hamber, B., Gallagher, E., & Ventevogel, P. (2014). Narrowing the gap between psychosocial practice, peacebuilding and wider social change: an introduction to the Special Section in this issue. Intervention: Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Area, 12 (1), 7-15.  
  • Redress (2015). Victim participation in criminal law proceedings - Survey of domestic practice for application to international crimes prosecutions. Retrieved from: http://www.redress.org/downloads/publications/1508Victim%20Rights%20Report.pdf, 1.12.2015
  • Skjelsbæk, I. (2006). Victim and survivor: Narrated social identities of women who experienced rape during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Feminism & Psychology, 16(4). 
  • Skjelsbæk, I. (2006b). Therapeutic work with victims of sexual violence in war and postwar: A discourse analysis of Bosnian experiences. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 12(2). Skjelsbæk, I., Sveaass, N. & Kvaale, R.M.G. (2015).Therapeutic prosecutions? Assessing the therapeutic potential of criminal prosecution of international crimes at the International Criminal Court. Prio policy brief, 04, 2015.
  • Sveaass, N. & Sønneland, A.M. (2015). Dealing with the past: Survivors' perspectives on economic reparations in Argentina. International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation.

 

 

Recommended reading:

  • Avrich, K., & Vejarano, B. (2002). Truth and reconciliation commissions: A review essay and annotated bibliography. The Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution, 4(2), 37-76.
  • Bakiner, O. (2013). Truth commission impact: An assessment of how commissions influence politics and society. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 8(1), 6-30. doi: 10.1093/ijtj/ijt025
  • Brahm, E. (2007). Uncovering the truth: Examining truth commission success and impact. International Studies Perspectives, 8(1), 16-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-3585.2007.00267.x
  • Chapman, A., & Ball, P. (2001). The truth of truth commissions: Comparative lessons from Haiti, South Africa, and Guatemala. Human Rights Quarterly, 23(1), 1-43. doi: 10.1353/hrq.2001.0005
  • Chapman, A. R. & van der Merwe, H. (Eds.) (2008). Truth and reconciliation in South Africa: Did the TRC deliver? Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Daly, E. (2008). Truth skepticism: An inquiry into the value of the truth in times of transition. The International Journal of Transitional Justice, 2, 23-41. doi: 10.1093/ijtj/ijn004
  • Freeman, M. (2006). Truth commissions and procedural fairness. New York, NY: Cambridge  University Press.
  • Gutman, A., & Thompson, D. (2000). The moral foundation of truth commissions. In R. I. Rotberg & D. Thompson (Eds.), Truth V. Justice: The Morality of Truth Commissions (22-44). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Gibson, J. L. (2004). Does truth lead to reconciliation? Testing the causal assumptions of the South African truth and reconciliation process. American Journal of Political Science, 48(2), 201-217. doi: 10.1111/j.0092-5853.2004.00065.x
  • Laplante, L. J., & Theidon, K. S. (2007). Truth with consequences: Justice and reparations in post-truth commission Peru. Human Rights Quarterly, 29(1), 228-250. doi: 10.1353/hrq.2007.0009
  • Leebaw, B. A. (2008). The irreconcilable goals of transitional justice. Human Rights Quarterly, 30(1), 95-118. doi: 10.1353/hrq.2008.0014
  • Madlingozi, T. (2010). On transitional justice entrepreneurs and the production of victims. Journal of Human Rights Practice, 2. doi: 10.1093/jhuman/huq005
  • Mendeloff, D. (2004). Truth-seeking, truth-telling, and postconflict peacebuilding: Curb the enthusiasm? International Studies Review, 6(3), 355-380. doi: 10.1111/j.1521-9488.2004.00421.x
  • Minow, M. (1998). Between vengeance and forgiveness: Facing history after genocide and mass violence. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
  • Olsen, T. D., Payne, L. A., Reiter, A. G., & Wiebelhaus-Brahm, E. (2010). When truth commissions improve human rights. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 4(3), 457-476. doi: 10.1093/ijtj/ijq021
  • Pasqualucci, J. M. (1994). The whole truth and nothing but the truth: Truth commissions, impunity and the inter-American human rights system. Boston University International Law Journal, 12, 321.
  • Popkin, M. L., & Roht-Arriaza, N. (1995). Truth as justice: Investigatory commissions in Latin America. Law and Social Inquiry, 20(1), 79-116. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-4469.1995.tb00683.x
  • Quinn, J. R., & Freeman, M. (2003). Lessons learned: Practical lessons gleaned from inside the truth commissions of Guatemala and South Africa. Human Rights Quarterly, 25(4), 1117-1149. doi: 10.1353/hrq.2003.0050
  • Roht-Arriaza, N. (2013). Editorial note. The International Journal of Transitional Justice, 7. doi: 10.1093/ijtj/ijt020
  • Skaar, E., Garcia-Godos, J., & Collins, C. (in press, to be published March 2016). Transitional justice in Latin America: The uneven road from impunity towards accountability. London: Routledge.
  • Skaar, E., Malca, C. G., & Eide, T. (2015). After violence: Transitional justice, peace, and democracy. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Wiebelhaus-Brahm, E. (2010). Truth commissions and transitional societies: The impact on human rights and democracy. New York, NY: Routledge.

 

Readings per Lecture:

2: Open Lecture: Extending the Boundaries of Transitional Justice (Harvey Weinstein and Inger Skjelsbæk (chair))

Required reading:

  • Stover, E., & Weinstein, H. M. (Eds.). (2004). My neighbor, my enemy: Justice and community in the aftermath of mass atrocity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

 

5. Justice and reparation in Peru and Argentina.  A study of victims' experience with transitional justice mechanisms in Latin America (Anne Margrete Sønneland and Nora Sveaass)

Required reading:

  • Sveaass, N. (2013). Gross human rights violations and reparation under international law: Approaching rehabilitation as a form of reparation. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 4. doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.17191

 

7. Truth Commissions in societies in transition? (Elin Skaar)

Required reading:

  • Hayner, P. B. (1994). Fifteen truth commissions—1974 to 1994: A comparative study. Human Rights Quarterly, 16(4), 597-655.
  • Skaar, E. (1999). Truth commissions: Trials or nothing? Policy options in democratic transitions. Third World Quarterly, 20(6), 1109-1128. doi: 10.1080/01436599913316
  • Wiebelhaus-Brahm, E. (2009). What is a truth commission and why does it matter? Peace and Conflict Review, 3(2), 1-14.

 

10. Sexual violence crimes and criminal prosecution. Bosnian experiences (Inger Skjelsbæk)

Required reading:

  • Skjelsbæk, I. (2015). The military perpetrator: A narrative analysis of sentencing judgments on sexual violence offenders at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 3(1). doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v3i1.273

Added 30.11 (semi-required)

  • Skjelsbæk, I. (2006). Victim and survivor: Narrated social identities of women who experienced rape during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Feminism & Psychology, 16(4). 
  • Skjelsbæk, I. (2006b). Therapeutic work with victims of sexual violence in war and postwar: A discourse analysis of Bosnian experiences. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 12(2).

11. Victim-Centered Approaches: Who Benefits? Perspectives from the Individual to the Community (Harvey Weinstein)

Required reading:

  • Arthur, P. (2009). How "transitions" reshaped human rights: A conceptual history of transitional justice. Human Rights Quarterly, 31(2), 321-367.
  • Fletcher, L. E., & Weinstein, H. M. (2002). Violence and social repair: Rethinking the contribution of justice to reconciliation. Human Rights Quarterly, 24(3), 573-639.
  • Gready, P., & Robins, S. (2014). From transitional to transformative justice: A new agenda for practice. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 8(3), 339-361.