At the century's end, societies all over the world are throwing off the yoke of authoritarian rule and beginning to build democracies. At any such time of radical change, the question arises: should a society punish its ancien regime or let bygones be bygones? Transitional Justice takes this question to a new level with an interdisciplinary approach that challenges the very terms of the contemporary debate.
Ruti Teitel explores the recurring dilemma of how regimes should respond to evil rule, arguing against the prevailing view favoring punishment, yet contending that the law nevertheless plays a profound role in periods of radical change. Pursuing a comparative and historical approach, she presents a compelling analysis of constitutional, legislative, and administrative responses to injustice following political upheaval. She proposes a new normative conception of justiceone that is highly politicizedoffering glimmerings of the rule of law that, in her view, have become symbols of liberal transition.
Its challenge to the prevailing assumptions about transitional periods makes this timely and provocative book essential reading for policymakers and scholars of revolution and new democracies.