Collective guilt, individual and prospective responsibility

a critical approach to contemporary transitional justice


  • Gianluca Ronca Collegio Ghislieri - IUSS Pavia



transitional justice, human rights, philosophy of international law, restorative and reparative justice, truth and reconciliation commissions


Beginning with a brief presentation of the historical data and conceptual issues that have led to the emergence of the doctrine of the notion of Transitional Justice, I will describe the orientation adopted in two paradigmatic historical contexts, the Nuremberg trial at the end of the Second World War and the post-apartheid reconciliation process in South Africa. Supported by documents from International Human Rights Law and other international legal sources (Rome Statute)  I will then offer a provisional definition of what I call a Critical Transitional Justice. The conclusion highlights how the relationship between retrospective and prospective responsibility today is not exclusionary: as central principles of Critical Transitional Justice, they contribute in conferring normative legitimacy to transformative processes of adapting the international system to compliance to general principles of human rights.


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