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Thursday, November 17, 2016

New Exhibit: "Transitional Justice in Historical Perspective"

A new exhibit, "Transitional Justice in Historical Perspective," is open at the Riesenfeld Center.

Trial of Charles I of England,
tried and executed for treason 
in 1649.
War and conflict are often witness to deep violations of law and justice. When armed conflict subsides, and after the fall of oppressive regimes, important questions arise as to which punitive measures and reparations can bring guilty parties to justice, and rehabilitate those subject to crime and loss. Transitional justice seeks to address these issues, and to understand how to achieve a just and stable society in the wake of conflict.

By what means, how far, and through whose agency, deep violations of law and justice are to be redressed in the wake of conflict, are not only contemporary questions but are as old as conflict itself. Historical governments at various moments have relied on markedly procedural measures against defeated political and military leaders, focusing on the punishment of offenders, the restitution of property and other rights, and the re-establishment of civil society.

St. Paul attorney and Dachau war crimes
prosecutor Horace Hansen's copy of
administrative manual for post-Nazi
"Transitional Justice in Historical Perspective," in the Library's Riesenfeld Rare Books Center, highlights volumes that touch on theories and moments of transitional justice and post-conflict reconciliation, from high medieval Europe through the war crimes trials following WWII. From the first academic commentary on a peace treaty, to the trial of Charles I, to the notebook of a Dachau war crimes prosecutor, the exhibit invites visitors to consider transitional justice from its foundations in history and comparative practice.

"Transitional Justice in Historical Perspective" was created as part of the Law School Human Rights Center's Transitional Justice Week and is open through the spring.

For more information or directions, please contact Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections (612-625-7323; rgreenwo@umn.edu).