Fith international seminar on transitional justice. Between the right to truth and the duty to remember for international crimes
Workshop: 3-4 aprile 2017
Workshop organizzato da Stephan Parmentier (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven). Programma
Località Academia Belgica Via Omero 8 I – 00197 Roma
When international crimes are terminated and violent conflicts come to an end, post-conflicts societies and their political and social elites cannot escape the crucial issue of how history is being shaped and often constructed. Even a decision not to decide is likely to have effects in policy and practice.
Different accounts of historical facts, different interpretations of events and different narratives of the past tend to co-exist and sometimes compete for primacy in public and private discourses. The past becomes an object of research and debate in a variety of forums, and the outcomes are of direct use in legal and non-legal procedures. These aspects gain particular importance in post-conflict situations and transitional settings characterised by rapid changes and multiple challenges in reconstructing societies.
This international seminar on transitional justice will focus on some salient aspects of the relationship between past history, present narratives and future orientations in post-conflict settings. For this purpose, it aims at paying attention to two major trends in international law and international relations: first, the emergence of the ‘right to truth’ about events of the past in order to understand the grand patterns of human rights violations and preserve the memory of individual victims and society as a collective; second, the establishment of the state ‘duty to remember’ about the legacy of the past inorder to preserve history and respect the suffering of the victims. While the right to truth and the duty to remember have meanwhile been incorporated in legal documents, they can also be framed from the perspective of social movements, political discourses, educational policies, and other human rights strategies. In recent years, both aspects tend to be subsumed under the heading of victim reparations, with a particular emphasis on the category of satisfaction through symbolic forms of acknowledgement. The latter development also raises the issue of identifying the agents of memoryactivism and their relationships. It should be emphasised that endeavours to preserve history andmemory are not always uncontroversial but frequently lead to fierce debates in times of transition that may reproduce the deep cleavages of the past, and can also be subject to legal and political limitations to the freedom of expression. Finally, the seminar will also discuss how the ‘architecture’ of transitional justice is increasingly seen to be relevant for other forms of international crimes committed in longterm or mature democracies.
The seminar is organised as a closed expert meeting (by invitation only) of two half days where academics, practitioners and policy makers will discuss various aspects of the right to truth and the duty to remember in times of transition and beyond. It serves as the fifth one in a longer series of international seminars organised since 2008 by the Research Line on Human Rights and Transitional Justice of the Leuven Institute of Criminology, Faculty of Law, University of Leuven – KU Leuven (Belgium). Earlier editions have focused on traditional forms of transitional justice, the rule of law, interdisciplinary approaches, and victim reparation policies, all designed to discuss cutting-edge issues in transitional justice from a global perspective.
I thank prof. Stephan Parmentier (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) for invitation and he partecipated in book presentation of “Antimafia Andina” in Italian Parliament.