Ruti G. Teitel, "Transitional Justice" (Oxford UP, 2000)


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Societies that are throwing off the yoke of authoritarian rule and beginning to build democracies face a daunting question: should they punish the representatives of the ancien regime or let bygones be bygones? In her interview, Professor Ruti Teitel talks both about these choices and more broadly about transitional justice as a field. Her book, Transitional Justice, published in year 2000 with Oxford University Press, takes this question to a new level with an interdisciplinary approach that challenges the very terms of the contemporary debate. The book explores the recurring dilemma of how regimes should respond to evil rule, arguing against the prevailing view favoring punishment, yet contending that the law plays a profound role in periods of radical change. In her interview, Teitel also touches on the growth of transitional justice as a field, the challenges to redress the past faced by Latin America, South Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as North America, the ways in which the International Criminal Court and other actors could prosecute perpetrators once the war in Ukraine is over, as well as her current and future research projects. The interview showcases her unparalleled knowledge of transitional justice scholarship and practice.

Lavinia Stan is a professor of political science at St. Francis Xavier University in Canada.

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