Reporting Justice

II/1: Introduction to Judicial Institutions

II/1: Introduction to Judicial Institutions

Judicial Module 1:  Introduction to Judicial Institutions

We will examine the development and evolution of judicial (and non-judicial) mechanisms designed to combat impunity and promote social reconstruction and reconciliation in the aftermath of war and political violence.  We will explore divergent views about the effectiveness of such mechanisms.  Do they help unite or further separate communities divided by political or ethnic violence?  Do they address the needs of victims?  And are they able to deter future violence?

For essential historical background on the mechanisms of international justice, please view the Council on Foreign Relations’s excellent timeline:

Key Questions:

What are the objectives of trials and truth commissions in the aftermath of war and political violence?  Do those objectives differ in any way?

What role do reparations play in the aftermath of war and political violence?

What is Michael Ignatieff’s main thesis in his article “Articles of Faith?”

Required Readings:

In Martha Minow’s, Between Vengeance and Forgiveness:  Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence (Boston:  Beacon Press, 1998), Chapter 2:  Vengeance and Forgiveness; Chapter 3:  Trials; and Chapter 4:  Truth Commissions.

Eric Stover, “International Criminal Justice,” World at Risk:  A Global Issues Sourcebook, Second Edition (CQ Press, 2010): 518-542.

Naomi Roht-Arriaza, “Reparations in the Aftermath of Repression and Mass Violence,” in Eric Stover and Harvey M. Weinstein (eds), My Neighbor, My Enemy:  Justice and Community in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocity (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2004): 121-139.

Michael Ignatieff, “Articles of Faith,” Index on Censorship 5 (1996): 110-122.

In Crimes of War, read section on Courts and Tribunals (132-134).

In Reporting Justice, read Chapters 2 – 4 (10-22).

Selected Online Resources:

Short film entitled, “Building Justice”, by Skylight Pictures and the MacArthur Foundation, available at

Global Policy Forum, available at, monitors the work of the United Nations and scrutinizes global policymaking. They promote accountability and citizen participation in decisions on peace and security, social justice and international law and have a dedicated section on International Justice which provides a good overview of the institutions.