This multi-disciplinary collection interrogates the role of human rights in addressing past injustices. The volume draws on legal scholars, political scientists, anthropologists and political philosophers grappling with the weight of the memory of historical injustices arising from conflicts in Europe, the Middle East and Australasia. It examines the role of human rights as legal doctrine, rhetoric and policy as developed by states, international organizations, regional groups and non-governmental bodies. The authors question whether faith in human rights is justified as balm to heal past injustice or whether such faith nourishes both victimhood and self-justification. These issues are explored through three discrete sections: moments of memory and injustice, addressing injustice; and questions of faith. In each of these sections, authors address the manner in which memory of past conflicts and injustice haunt our contemporary understanding of human rights. The volume questions whether the expectation that human rights law can deal with past injustice has undermined the development of an emancipatory politics of human rights for our current world.
Kalliopi Chainoglou, Barry Collins, Michael Phillips and John Strawson
Part I. Moments of Memory and Injustice
Chapter 1. Ghosts of War Crimes Past: An account from the frontline in Bangladesh, Wayne Morrison.
Chapter 2. Modern Islamic Memory and the ISIS ‘Caliphate,’ John Strawson.
Chapter 3. Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland: The case of Irish nationalism, Cillian McGrattan.
Chapter 4. Selecting the Memory, Controlling the Myth: The propaganda of legal foundations in early modern drama, Eric Heinze.
Chapter 5. Sin Carries the Penance: the Spanish Civil War's conflicts of guilt and justice, Ignacio Fernandez de Mata
Part II. Addressing Injustice
Chapter 6. Beginning Anew: Exceptional Institutions and the Politics of Ritual, Paul Muldoon
Chapter 7. Promoting Reconciliation and Protecting Human Rights: an underdeveloped relationship, Nasia Hadjigeorgiou.
Chapter 8. Human Rights as Acts of Faith: Universal Jurisdiction and the Law of Historical Memory in Spain, Barry Collins.
Chapter 9. The Right to Historical Truth and Historical Memory versus Historical revisionism and denialism: A human rights analysis, Kalliopi Chainoglou
Part III. Questions of Faith
Chapter 10. Misplaced Faith? Implementing Spain's 2007 Reparations Law, Georgina Blakeley.
Chapter 11. Faith, Justice and Catholic Public Memory: The Politics of Reconciliation in Australia and New Zealand, Dominic O’Sullivan.
Chapter 12. A Pastoral Care for Reconciliation? Spanish Catholic Bishops and historical memory during the Zapatero Era (2004–2011), Mireno Berrettini
Chapter 13. The Australian Christian Churches and the Aboriginal Reconciliation Process: public religion and its limitations, Michael Phillips.
Conclusion: Varosha: a memorial to conflict, Mertkan Hamit and John Strawson.
Ruminating on the relationship between law, memory, and human rights, this impressive collection dazzles in content and scope. Its empirically rich and theoretically provocative contributions range from international law to literary studies, crossing an expanse of geographies and histories, all to remind readers that while wrongs cannot be righted, and memory cannot be trusted, the pursuit of justice in the present cannot be abandoned. A valuable collection for scholars - legal and otherwise - working in the areas of transitional justice, de-colonization, reconciliation, and public memory.
Stacy Douglas, Assistant Professor of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada