Fall/Winter Timetable

POL487H1F L0201

Graduate Course Code: POL2206H1F L0201

Topics in International Politics II

Transitional Justice


Transitional justice (TJ) refers to legal and quasi-legal efforts to provide accountability for former human rights violations in times of political change. This includes mechanisms like human rights criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, and reparations policies—all of which have become central to policy debates about democratization and peacebuilding. While the advance of transitional justice has been called “one of the most dramatic transformations of global politics in recent year,” we still do not know for sure whether this set of practices has made the world a better place. This course will proceed in three parts: Part 1 introduced the history of TJ, traces the emergence of global justice norms, and outline key conceptual debates. Part II evaluates the use and impact of specific TJ mechanisms across cases. And Part III cofronts various criticisms of transitional justice, including that it disrupts localized peace, fails to deliver transform structures of inequality, and perpetuates Western hegemony.


• Kathryn Sikkink. 2011. The Justice Cascade. New York, NY: W.W. Norton
• Minow, Martha. 1998. Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence. New York, NY: Beacon Press.

Format and Requirements



POL208H1 or POL208Y1 or POL209H5 or POLB80H3