Core courses are mandatory. They are structured in six clusters that cover central theoretical and practical issues in the fields of transitional justice, human rights and the rule of law.
Dealing with the past is a legal and political task but invariably this has social and psychological dimensions. A complex set of relationships exist between the recovery from political violence and the psychological processes that accompany widespread social change. Understanding this relationship can arguably strengthen transitional justice processes, and enhance psychosocial well-being in the society at large. Drawing on extensive personal experience in South Africa, Northern Ireland and elsewhere, as well the latest academic research, this course will examine the centrality of mental health issues in transitional justice, and the social, cultural, and identity issues involved in meeting the needs of victims, as well as addressing issues related to those who perpetrate violence. The course will also address issues such as truth, reconciliation, reparations, memorialization, and the role of civil society, through a psychosocial lens.
Transformative justice responds to the needs of both victims and societies, with their complex demands and cleavages. It could thus also be referred to as ‘integral justice’, in that it is integrated or holistic, and inclusive in looking at the interconnected and overlapping needs of society as a whole as well as of individuals with different experiences during conflict and transition. Often, transitional justice approaches only address the legal and political dimensions of justice. They overlook the deeper sources of division in society and the suffering of victims emanating from underlying social, cultural or environmental injustices that remain invisible, unarticulated and unaddressed in most cases. This course thus leads students to re-examine the concept of justice and prepare themselves, whether as scholars, practitioners or policy-makers, for the process of rebuilding peace with justice in diverse contemporary societies in political transition.