From Absence to Presence, from Silence to Voice: Victims in Transitional Justice Since the Nuremberg Trials

Karstedt, S (2010) From Absence to Presence, from Silence to Voice: Victims in Transitional Justice Since the Nuremberg Trials. International Review of Victimology, 17(1), pp. 9-30.

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As much as victims have been absent in traditional and national criminal justice for a long time, they were invisible in transitional and international criminal justice after World War II. The Nuremberg Trials were dominated by the perpetrators, and documents were mainly used instead of victim testimony. Contemporaries shared the perspective that transitional justice, both international and national procedures should channel revenge by the victims and their families into the more peaceful venues of courts and legal procedures. Since then, victims have gained an ever more important role in transitional, post-conflict and international criminal justice. Non-judicial tribunals, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, and international criminal courts and tribunals are relying on the testimony of victims and thus provide a prominent role for victims who often take centre stage in such procedures and trials. International criminal law and the human rights regime have provided victims with several routes to make themselves heard and fight against impunity.

This paper tracks the road from absence to presence, and from invisibility to the visibility of victims during the second half of the last and the beginning of the present century. It shows in which ways their presence has shaped and changed transitional and international justice, and in particular how their absence or presence is linked to amnesties.

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ID Code: 51855
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1177/026975801001700102
ISSN: 0269-7580
Deposited On: 17 Jul 2012 03:34
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2012 22:07

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