Transitional justice refers to the reforms, prosecutions, and programs instated after human rights abuse. After the Holocaust ended, Nazi generals were prosecuted for crimes against humanity, Jewish victims of the Holocaust were given the country Israel to live in, Holocaust memorial museums opened, and Germany dramatically changed the way the government was ran. These are examples of transitional justice, a new bond forming between the attacker and the victim. Transitional justice has many good points, but as seen through history, sometimes it can be detrimental to the overall goal of protecting human rights.
I will continue to use the Holocaust as an example. The victors of World War Two decided to turn the Jewish holy ground into a country specifically for Jews who were victims of the Holocaust. It seemed like a very wonderful, ideal move at the time. But since Israel was created, many new ethical and moral dilemmas have arose. Transitional justice can always be a downfall for future events. I do not believe that the creation of Israel has led to more positive imagery of Jews, if anything antisemitism is still very problematic in parts of the world.
From 1975 to 1979, more than one million Cambodians were massacred under the Khmer Regime. Many of the massacred Cambodians were minorities, Buddhists, intellectuals, and political opponents. In 1979, Vietnam troops began to combat against the Khmer Regime. However, the leader of the Khmer Regime, Pol Pot, was not killed until 1998. Between those years, flocks of Cambodian refugees fled to the United States, and other countries. Eight years later, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia was formed, consisting of both Cambodian and international body. The Court began to prosecute senior leaders of the Khmer Regime, and those who were involved in the genocide. One major feature of the court is the participation of victims, this has led to more international awareness of the genocide in Cambodia. Unfortunately, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia has been accused of corruptness, and lack of funding.
Since 2005, the International Center for Transitional Justice has worked with the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia to maximize the efficiency of the Court. The International Center for Transitional Justice has advised the Court on how to handle trials, including the rights of the victim and reparations. The two have also worked on creating outreach programs and workshops. Since 2005, the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia have arrested four individuals who were in high power during the Khmer Regime for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and successfully sentenced two of the four individuals.
While I do believe that overall, the transitional justice was successful, I do believe that more could have been done for Cambodia. Almost every American knows about the Holocaust, but I do not believe most Americans know about the genocide in Cambodia Aside from that, there was no aid for civilians that suffered from horrible post traumatic stress disorder until the mid 2000s. Skeletons have also been found all over Cambodia, and they are still being found today. There is still much more work that needs to be done for Cambodia to fully recover from the 1974-1979 genocide.
Cambodian Genocide « World Without Genocide – Working to create a World Without Genocide. (n.d.). Retrieved July 24, 2016, from http://worldwithoutgenocide.org/genocides-and- conflicts/cambodian-genocide
Cambodia & Transitional Justice | ICTJ. (2011). Retrieved July 24, 2016, from https://www.ictj.org/our-work/regions-and-countries/cambodia