20 Pages to Address Key Transitional Justice Topics

Students of our Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ) – 2019-2020 academic year – successfully took up the challenge of addressing in around 20-pages contemporary transitional justice (TJ) issues and challenges.

‘The writing of a master’s paper forms an integral part of the programme. It allows students to further explore an issue of interest under the guidance of a Faculty member, develop their critical thinking concisely and convincingly, creatively apply the notions they have learned in class in relation to specific problems and cases, and to propose possible avenues for addressing gaps in theory or practice ’ explains Frank Haldemann, Co-Director of the MTJ.

Online Exchanges due to the COVID–19 Pandemic

While the writing of a master’s paper is in itself a lonely exercise, this was reinforced by the COVID–19 pandemic, as students could not meet in person with their peers and supervisors to exchange around their work.

‘Despite this additional layer of complexity, our students managed to submit highly innovative and original papers in time’ underlines Thomas Unger, Co-Director of the programme.

MTJ students submitted their papers in August and are receiving their grades.

From Country-Specific Situations to Broader Contemporary Challenges

Students’ papers address TJ issues in specific countries, as well as larger transitional justice questions and challenges.

‘The variety of country situations addressed by our students in their master’s papers – Armenia, Brazil, Central African Republic, China, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, – shows that TJ processes or questions are at play in numerous countries and regions’ explains Thomas Unger.

Students also discussed contemporary issues and challenges like victims’ participation – including children – in TJ processes; reparative justice for violations of economic, social and cultural rights; gender-specific dimensions for TJ in post-conflict context; articulation and coherence between national TJ mechanisms and the International Criminal Court; TJ and collective memory; restitution of looted or stolen art and cultural assets during conflict or the colonial period; or TJ and missing persons.

‘These paper show that our students have a good grasp of theories and practices relevant to TJ and are now well equipped to take-up new responsibilities in the field’ underlines Frank Haldemann.

DRC, Voters list at polling station Afia Katindo in Goma.

Award

Awarded every year during the Graduation Ceremony, the Best MTJ Paper Prize is given to one student for a paper of exceptional academic quality.