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The Handbook of Global Security Policy by Mary Kaldor, Iavor Rangelov

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Chapter 19 Transitional Justice

Iavor Rangelov and Ruti Teitel

Introduction

Since 1945, and more recently in the post-Cold War period, a growing number of efforts for addressing large-scale human rights violations have given rise to transitional justice as a distinctive field of policymaking and interdisciplinary inquiry. The term “transitional justice” was coined in 1991 by Ruti Teitel in her scholarly and advisory work on transitions from military juntas to democracy across Latin America and other transitional processes such as those emerging from the collapse of the Soviet Union (see Luban, 2006; Kritz, 1995). In her path-breaking book, Transitional Justice (2000), Teitel further elaborates the terms and advances a new conception of justice that pertains to such periods. The phenomena included developments across a range of transitional societies throughout Latin America, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and parts of Africa, which had overthrown military dictatorships and totalitarian regimes and were undergoing processes of democratization and liberalization.

In these periods of political movement away from illiberal rule, a number of questions arose: how should societies deal with their repressive pasts? What, if any, is the relation between a state's response to its repressive past and its prospects for creating a “liberal” order? What is law's potential for ushering in liberalization? “Transitional justice” was defined to account for the self-conscious construction ...

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