Oxford Transitional Justice is hosting two exciting seminars on Tuesday, 11 February 2014.  All are welcome!

  • Tuesday 11 February: 12:30 – Seminar Room F, Law Faculty: OTJR Special Seminar - Dr Rama Mani and Professor Jeremy Sarkin: ‘Towards a New Agenda for Transitional Justice in 21st Century Conflicts’
  • Tuesday 11 February: 17:00 – Seminar Room D, Manor Road: OTJR Tuesday Seminar - Professor Jeremy Sarkin: ‘The Necessity of Addressing Issues Concerning the Missing (including the Disappeared) in a Rule of Law, Human rights, Humanitarian and Transitional Justice Context’


OTJR Special Seminar: Tuesday 11 February – 12:30pm: Dr Rama Mani and Professor Jeremy Sarkin, Seminar Room F, Law Faculty

Dr Rama Mani and Professor Jeremy Sarkin will be speaking at an OTJR Special Seminar on Tuesday at 12:30 in Seminar Room F, Faculty of Law. The subject is ‘Towards a New Agenda for Transitional Justice in 21st Century Conflicts.’  Sandwiches will be provided from 12:15.


All countries are in transition. However, transitional justice has generally so far been applied in the aftermath of conflict in the so-called post-conflict transition period, rather than during conflict. So far the justice agenda has often been seen more often as a nettle that complicates the peace process, rather than a viable means of assisting the passage towards peaceful transition. In the twenty-first century, violent conflicts not only continue unabated but are even more complex and vexed in terms of brutal human rights violations exacted on citizens and competing demands for justice. Alongside an escalation in the number of states experiencing violent conflict, there is also a rising demand for greater democratisation and justice in many parts of the world.

This seminar will provide a new look at the role that transitional justice could play in ongoing violent conflicts. The two speakers in this seminar will draw on their extensive and diverse professional and academic experience in Africa, Asia and in international organisations to address a range of issues including: how the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ principle might be relevant and applicable for TJ in conflicts; reinvigorated roles that various institutions like the International Criminal Court, and component parts of the United Nations, including the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review process, could play in TJ. The speakers will also address major debates raging within TJ circles, including the challenges to the validity of earlier assumptions about the nexus between transitional justice and democratisation, and TJ and peace. They will propose new ways in which TJ might be conceptualized and applied in ongoing conflicts to not only address victims’ rights more effectively, but also to have a genuinely transformative impact on violently divided societies.

Speakers Biographies:

Prof. Jeremy Sarkin has undergraduate and postgraduate law degrees from South Africa, a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School and a Doctor of Laws degree on comparative and international law. He is admitted to practice as attorney in the USA and South Africa. He is an Extraordinary Professor of Law at the University of South Africa (UNISA). He served as National Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee of South Africa from 1994-1998. He served as an acting judge in 2002 and 2003 in the Cape High Court. He has worked on constitutional and transitional issues in many countries. He is a member of various journal editorial boards, including Human Rights Quarterly, Inter-American and European Human Rights Journal, Human Rights and International Legal Discourse, and the International Review of Criminal Law. He has published 14 books and over 200 journal articles on international law and human rights issues. His most recent books are “Reconciliation in Divided Societies: Finding Common Ground” (2007), “Human Rights in African Prisons” (2008), “Reparations for Colonial Genocides” (2009); and “Germany’s Genocide of the Herero” (2011).

Dr. Rama Mani is a Councillor of the World Future Council and Co-Convenor of ‘Agents of Transformation’. She is a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies at University of Oxford.She was formerly the Executive Director of ICES, Sri Lanka; Director of the Global Peace & Security Course, at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP); Strategy Manager on African conflicts, for OXFAM-GB, and Senior External Relations Officer of the Commission on Global Governance (Geneva). She authored Beyond Retribution: Seeking Justice in the Shadows of War (Polity/Blackwell 2002/ 2007), co-edited Responsibility to Protect: Cultural Perspectives from the Global South with Thomas Weiss (Routledge 2011), and writes and lectures extensively on post-conflict justice, peacebuilding and security. She is on the Advisory Board of the International Journal on Transitional Justice and the Intersentia Transitional Justice Series. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Cambridge. (She grew up in India and is a French national and overseas Indian citizen.)


OTJR Tuesday Seminar: 11 February – 17:00: Professor Jeremy Sarkin, Seminar Room D, Manor Road Building

Professor Jeremy Sarkin will present at our regular Tuesday seminar at 17:00 in Seminar Room D, Manor Road. Professor Sarkin’s seminar is entitled: ‘The Necessity of Addressing Issues Concerning the Missing (including the Disappeared) in a Rule of Law, Human Rights, Humanitarian and Transitional Justice Context.’


In the world today there are millions of reported cases of missing and disappeared persons from armed conflict and human rights abuses. In addition, thousands of persons go missing every year as a result of disasters, human trafficking, organized violence and other causes. Developments over the last two decades have seen an evolution in how the issue of the missing has been addressed, particularly following conflict and disasters. Much has been done internationally to deal with disappearances. As far as the missing are concerned, the scale of the problem has become better known, guidelines, standards and policies are becoming better defined, and advances in science and informatics make it possible to locate such people more effectively than ever before. Still, the extent to which these new capabilities are applied continues to vary depending on the circumstances of persons going missing, as well as on who searches, and for what purpose. Progress is however not uniform. It depends on which part of the world the event occurred. In some parts of the world the international community turned its attention to the issue at an early stage and provided support. Some countries have played a critical role and used its resources to deal with the issues to varying degrees and with varying results.

This talk will examine why it is necessary to deal with the missing and disappeared, why it is important to address the issues at a global and local level, what the advances are in the technology and the challenges going forward, how the responsibility of states to address the problem can be enhanced, what some of the ethical issues are, and why promoting equity and avoiding disparity, in dealing with these issues is so important.