Transitions in/to Democracy: Contemporary Chances and Challenges

Date and time: 
Sunday, October 28, 2012 (All day) to Tuesday, October 30, 2012 (All day)
Jerusalem, Isreal

The Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem - in cooperation with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung - cordially invites you to our second annual International Transitional Justice Conference on “Transitions in/to Democracy: Contemporary Chances and Challenges," to be held in Jerusalem on October 28-30, 2012.

About the conference

The relationship between the concepts of transitional justice, on one hand, and democracy, on the other, is complex and multifaceted. Much of the seminal literature and discourse on transitional justice focused on what has been called “paradigmatic transitions”, i.e., dealing with past abuses by former authoritarian and other illegitimate regimes after a transition to democracy. However, so-called “conflicted democracies” also encounter circumstances in which prolonged political violence, internal divisions and power differentials between social groups lead to wholesale human rights violations. Even established democracies benefiting from the rule of law and human rights may still face the problem of addressing past injustices. Moreover, legacies of past abuses have been addressed in the context of transitions from one authoritarian regime to another. Considering this broad range of interactions, to what extent are transitional justice and democracy mutually reinforcing? Are there tensions between some transitional justice concepts and democratic principles? Are established and emerging democracies well-equipped to deal with their past? What can democracies learn from authoritarian transitions?

The conference will address these and related questions, connecting them to contemporary contexts, including the Israeli and Palestinian context. The conference will employ a broad, interdisciplinary approach and utilize the comparative experience of various societies and international experts.


The conference keynote speaker will be Prof. José Zalaquett, a professor of human rights, ethics and government at the University of Chile, who served as a member of the Chilean National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation and chaired the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Further confirmed speakers include (in alphabetical order):

Ruth Amir, Max Stern Academic College of Emek Yezreel
Kora Andrieu, Sciences-Po Paris School of International Affairs
David Backer, University of Maryland
Ya'acov Bar Simantov, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Jona Bargur, Parents Circle - Forum of Bereaved Israeli and Palestinian Families for Peace and Reconciliation
Uladzislau Belavusau, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
Tomer Broude, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Colm Campbell, University of Ulster
Carlos Closa, CSIC Institute of Public Goods and Policies, Madrid, and European University Institute, Florence
Erin Daly, Widener University School of Law
Thomas Obel Hansen, United States International University, Nairobi
Pierre Hazan, Geneva University
Sigall Horovitz, PhD Candidate, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Michael Hunziker, PhD Candidate, McGill University
Anupma Kulkarni, Stanford University
Ofer Shinar Levanon, PhD Candidate, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Mary Liston, University of British Columbia
Manar Mahmoud, PhD Candidate, Tel Aviv University
Mor Mitrani, PhD Candidate, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Leigh Payne, University of Oxford
Iavor Rangelov, London School of Economics
Anne Smith, Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster
Alberto Spektorowski, Tel Aviv University
Lauro Joppert Swensson Jr., PhD Candidate, Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main
Ruti Teitel, New York Law School and London School of Economics
Catherine Turner, Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster; PhD candidate, Queens University, Belfast


Minerva Center at for additional information.