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Seminar given by Prof. Susanne Karstedt from the School of Law, University of Leeds on 28 January 2010 at the Department of Sociology, University of Essex
Transitional justice turns common notions of crime, criminals and criminal justice upside down. Members of the formerly ruling elites, including high ranking members of the armed forces and the government find themselves in the dock accused of the most heinous crimes and human rights abuses. Transitional societies are deeply divided along the lines of communities of victims and offenders, of those who as former victims are now “defended” and those who as offenders are now “defeated”. The “truth” about the events is highly contested among these groups that nonetheless have to forge a common memory of what had happened, and have to find a common understanding of their past.