Law in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocity (5223LAW)

What happens after genocide and mass atrocities? How do survivors pick up their lives in the aftermath of mass killings and war crimes? Can one come to terms with mass atrocities committed against one's family and ethnic/racial group? Can one forgive and reconcile? This course will cover transitional justice which is a rapidly emerging interdisciplinary field of study focusing on processes dealing with past human rights violations and the transition to more peaceful and democratic states. It will deal with questions that arise in countries emerging from armed conflict or from periods of authoritarian or repressive rule. It will focus on strategies available to new democratic governments in the aftermath of a situation of massive violations of human rights to re-establish the rule of law and build sustainable peace. This course will examine the evolution of transitional justice theory and practice, including truth commissions, trials and traditional practices, in such contexts as post-apartheid South Africa and post-genocide Bosnia, Cambodia, Germany and Rwanda. We will also watch selections from films, such as The Death and the Maiden, during the lectures to illustrate the complexity of coming to terms with mass atrocities and war crimes. Issues discussed include the various types of justice, accountability, truth, reconciliation and reparations, and the challenges of balancing justice and peace. The course will raise a series of thought-provoking questions such as how mass atrocities affect states and their neighbors? What lessons did the UN learn from its experiences with mass atrocity situations in the post-Cold War world? What are the pros and cons of prosecuting individuals for mass atrocities? Can multi-million international courts bring justice to survivors of war crimes? Incompatible: 7605LAW Transitional Justice. Prerequisites: Nil.

Course study information

Credit points (awarded)

10 (10)

Study level


Student contribution band

Band 3

Usually available

Nathan Semester 2Nathan Trimester 1

Course offerings and timetables


Key dates

Course start date
25 February 2019
Last day to add a course
3 March 2019
Last day to drop a course without financial penalty (Census date)
10 March 2019
Last day to drop a course without academic penalty
17 March 2019

Please view the full class and additional timetable information for Griffith Law School

Class Availability When Where Notes
You must attend this Lecture
Lecture (17753) Open Wednesday 14:00 - 17:50
27 February 2019 - 10 April 2019
N61 -2.06
Law Building
Nathan Campus