Research Handbook on Transitional Justice
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Research Handbook on Transitional Justice

Edited by Cheryl Lawther, Luke Moffett and Dov Jacobs

Providing detailed and comprehensive coverage of the transitional justice field, this Research Handbook brings together leading scholars and practitioners to explore how societies deal with mass atrocities after periods of dictatorship or conflict. Situating the development of transitional justice in its historical context, social and political context, it analyses the legal instruments that have emerged.
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Chapter 5: Transitional justice and human rights

Frédéric Mégret and Raphael Vagliano


This chapter presents a succinct overview of how international human rights law has shaped the field of transitional justice. It surveys human rights bodies’ treatment of the primary areas to be adjudicated in transitional contexts: amnesties, retroactive application of criminal measures, reparations, restitution of property, purges and vetting procedures, and power-sharing frameworks in constitutions. In general, human rights have served as both an impetus for undertaking transitional processes as well as a constraint on legitimate judicial and extrajudicial measures available to post-transition governments. However, the impact of human rights on the manifold dilemmas in transitional justice has been uneven, with human rights bodies willing to play a more active role in certain areas than others. Human rights; international human rights law; accountability; reparations; societal reform

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