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Truth and Justice. Professor Neil Mitchell. Outline. Rhoda Howard-Hassman Wed 2 nd May, 2pm MacRobert 252 Reparations to Africa Amnesty Truth Commissions Domestic Courts My Lai International Criminal Court. Forgetting. Algerian Amnesty Approved by referendum 2005

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truth and justice

Truth and Justice

Professor Neil Mitchell

  • Rhoda Howard-Hassman Wed 2nd May, 2pm MacRobert 252 Reparations to Africa
  • Amnesty
  • Truth Commissions
  • Domestic Courts
    • My Lai
  • International Criminal Court
  • Algerian Amnesty
    • Approved by referendum 2005
    • Officially no amnesty for those “involved in” mass murder, rape and bombings
truth commissions
Truth Commissions
  • Purposes
  • Organisation
    • Establishment
    • Composition
    • Operating Procedures
achievements and shortcomings
Achievements and Shortcomings



Justice – what is it?


Terms of inquiry

agent s and strategic motives
Agent’s and Strategic Motives

Motivation of acts: Post war Italy “ a most unfortunate and grotesque distinction was drawn between “ordinary tortures and tortures that were particularly atrocious. Using this formula the courts were able to pardon the following crimes: the multiple rape of a woman partisan; a partisan tied to a roof who was punched and kicked ; electric torture on the genitals applied through a field telephone. On this case the Corte di Cazzatione .. Ruled that the tortures “took place only for intimidatory purposes and not through bestial insensibility” …In the Danish trials of collaborators after WWII, this priority was reversed. Those who mistreated or killed individuals for personal motives or pique were less likely to get the death penalty than those who did so to serve German interests. The worst Danish torturer escaped execution because the Supreme Court found that his actions were due to “sadistic perversion of sexual drives” … The mentally disturbed cannot be evilJon Elster Closing the Books: Transitional Justice in Historical Perspective (Cambridge University Press 2004, 162).

No Truth Commissions in Mozambique and Cambodia

domestic justice
Domestic Justice
  • What Happened at My Lai?
  • So whose interests do domestic courts serve?
  • 1998 Rome Statute
    • Pinochet Case 1998 “The Pinochet case was a contagious example – No one could accuse the British law lords … of being part of an international socialist conspiracy” Uruguayan Human Rights Leader NYT 1/9/05
  • Structure
  • Jurisdiction
    • Genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, aggressive war
    • Cases after July 2002
  • US opposition
  • Cases
  • Compare to alternatives
next week
Next week
  • Include in core reading Thomas Risse and Kathryn Sikkink, The Power of Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic Change,Cambridge University Press 1999 ch 1 and one other chapter.
  • Revision after lecture