Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2012


Human Rights Brief





First Page


Last Page



As the field of transitional justice has matured, we have a better appreciation of the fact that both the capacity and will of societies to address violations of the past may evolve signifiicantly, and in unforeseen ways, over time—sometimes over a long, long period. (One speaker this morning described how he was unable to come to terms with his own torture for 11 years— and then, pursuing justice became critical.) Thus, for example, prosecutions for past violations may not occur in the immediate aftermath of a transition from repression to democratic gover¬ nance; often they take place after the passage of time, and the resulting breathing room for democratic consolidation, has made it easier to reckon with crimes of the past.


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