Forthcoming Events 

London Transitional Justice Network

Work in Progress Research Seminar Series

 Date: Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Time: 12:30 – 2:00

Venue: Room 105, UCL Institute of the Americas, 51 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PN

Do transitional justice measures help foster democratic security forces?

Chandra Lekha Sriram (UEL) & Valerie Arnould (Egmont - Royal Institute for International Relations, Brussels)

Abstract: This paper considers the impact of transitional justice on one specific component of democratic institution-building: the development of a democratic security sector. At present, there is little consensus on the effects transitional justice mechanisms have on security forces and their democratic control. While some argue that ending impunity is central to improving the effectiveness and behaviour of the security forces, as well as citizens’ trust in these institutions, others warn that an overly harsh accountability policy targeted at the security forces can have destabilising effects. This article examines the experiences of four countries in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa: Chile, Brazil, Sierra Leone and Uganda. The countries represent two different modalities of transition: from authoritarian rule and significant internal political violence, and from internal armed conflict. They also offer diversity in terms of geography and “geopolitical time”, i.e. experiencing transitional justice processes primarily initiated before or after the end of the Cold War. In each country, political leaders as well as their international and transnational allies selected different mechanisms of transitional justice over time: amnesties, commissions of inquiry, prosecutions, vetting/lustration and reparations/memorial.  They thus offer an opportunity to examine in context the ways in which these different mechanisms operate, and their effects upon democratic security forces.

The Making of Gomes Lund: The Inter-American Human Rights System and Transitional Justice in Brazil

Par Engstrom (UCL) presenting author & Bruno Boti Bernardi (Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados – UFGD)

Abstract: This paper examines processes of legal mobilisation of the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS) by a group of non-professional human rights activists in the case of Gomes Lund et al. (Guerilha do Araguaia) v. Brazil. We tell the story of how victims’ relatives made Gomes Lund come about, in order to shed light on very lengthy and complex judicial proceedings in Brazil and before the IAHRS, as well as the responses by the state over the course of over forty years of political and legal struggles. This is partly a chronological story, using process-tracing of a particularly illuminating case, that seeks to understand how and why it evolved in the ways it did over time. Yet, the paper is also concerned with interpretation; that is, exploring the shifting understandings and meanings of Gomes Lund over time. More specifically, we argue that a close reading of the case provides insights on key developments of transitional justice in Brazil. The paper is based on primary materials, including communications between petitioners, the Inter-American Commission, the Brazilian state; as well as interviews with key participants. Beyond the reading of the specific case of Gomes Lund, the paper highlights key dimensions of transitional justice in Brazil, on the one hand, and about the IAHRS, on the other.

Discussant: Anthony Pereira (King’s Brazil Institute)

This event is part of LTJN’s work in progress seminar series; an informal forum for LTJN members to present and discuss their ongoing research. Seminar papers are circulated in advance to all participants. 45 minutes are allocated to each paper (10 minutes presentation, 15 minutes for the discussant, and 15-20 minutes of general discussion).

Attendance is open to all LTJN members, but space is limited. To participate in the seminar please contact Par Engstrom (

Accountability for Mass Atrocities in Syria and Beyond

Safra Lecture Theatre (Ground Floor) Strand Campus
27/06/2016 (12:00-13:30)
Chair: Dr Rachel Kerr

Registration URL

Ambassador Stephen Rapp is a Distinguished Fellow for the Prevention of Genocide at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and The Hague Institute for Global Justice. He served as Ambassador-at-Large heading the Office of Global Criminal Justice in the U.S. State Department from 2009 to 2015 where he coordinated US government support to international criminal tribunals, to the International Criminal Court, and to hybrid and national courts responsible for prosecuting persons charged with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.  From January 2007 to September 2009, Ambassador Rapp was the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) responsible for the prosecution of former Liberian President Charles Taylor and others, and prior to that he served as a Senior Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Discussant: Dr Leslie Vinjamuri (SOAS)

Dr Leslie Vinjamuri is Co-Director of the Centre for the International Politics of Conflict, Rights and Justice and a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at SOAS, University of London. She is co-editor of Human Rights Futures (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press) and a contributor to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences project on New Dilemmas in Ethics, Technology, and War. Dr Vinjamuri is on the Council of Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs where she is also an Associate Fellow on the US Programme.

The London Transitional Justice Network (LTJN) is an inter-university and interdisciplinary network of scholars, practitioners and policymakers from the wider London area (and beyond) who have research interests in the politics, policies and processes of transitional justice.

The War Crimes Research Group (WCRG) brings together researchers and practitioners across a range of disciplines and encourages diverse approaches to the study of war crimes and war. Follow us @WarCrimesKCL