Agata Fijalkowski: Transitional Justice and Testimony

Transitional justice is a dynamic field that broadly addresses the way that the successor state reckons with its past and the crimes that were committed by, and during, the predecessor state. Post-dictatorial reckoning will inevitably address various themes that are pertinent to this network, such as conceptions of memory and historical redress. Justice is a key factor in cases that are brought before the courts by victims who seek to get redress in courts on issues related to the prior regime’s actions and offences. The rulings in themselves are documents, reliant on various sources that will include witness testimony, and that reflect a certain understanding of the history of the region. The decisions, and the ways in which the predecessor regime’s actions are characterised as actionable crimes according to domestic and international law, constitute important practices of transitional justice. Concerning courts and the law more broadly, important questions were raised at our first workshop that asked what it is that the writing of testimonial literature, the making of a documentary film, or bringing historical witnesses on stage does that other forms of bearing witness cannot and also how testimony relates to concepts of reconciliation and justice at an individual and societal level.

Colleagues might be interested in the ways that these issues are discussed and touched upon in the following volumes, and this is where I am plugging some exciting projects:

Out now:

Raluca Grosescu and Agata Fijalkowski, ‘Retrospective Justice and Legal Culture’, in Justice, Memory and Redress: New Insights from Romania, eds. Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars, 2017), pp. 100-123

In press:

Agata Fijalkowski, ‘Historical Politics and Court Redress in the Baltic States’, in Transitional Justice and the Former Soviet Union: Reviewing the Past and Looking Toward the Future, eds. Cynthia M. Horne and Lavinia Stan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)

And watch out for this forthcoming co-authored article that considers ‘affective justice’ in the Albanian and Sierra Leonean contexts:

Agata Fijalkowski and Sigrun Valderhaug, ‘Legal Decisions, Affective Justice, and ‘Moving On’?’, Oñati Socio-Legal Series

I will be curating an exhibit of photographs this autumn at the National Media Museum in Bradford on ‘Musine Kokalari: An Albanian Story’. We have photographs, trial proceedings and Musine’s diaries as sources to help piece together this remarkable individual’s life account. Details on this and the scheduled symposium to follow. It would be wonderful if network members could attend.


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