This volume combines a unique approach to the issue of how societies address a history of massive human rights abuses with groundbreaking empirical evidence from an Islamic country. Legal sociologist Fatima Kastner examines the perspectives and potentials of two key macrosociological theories—the new institutionalism or world polity theory developed by John W. Meyer and Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory—in assessing transitional justice’s goals, functions, and instruments. And she enriches this evaluation by presenting the singular case of the Kingdom of Morocco. King Mohammed VI’s decision to install a truth commission in 2004 was unparalleled in the Arab world: The mass violence and human rights violations investigated were perpetrated under the rule of his own father, Hassan II.
Within this macrosociological framework and analysis of the Moroccan process, key questions on post-conflict justice are addressed. Why is there a global shift from forgetting and denying mass violence and injustice to collectively confronting such occurrences? As reconciliation replaces the prosecution and punishment of perpetrators, is the work of international courts complemented or undermined? Most importantly: what is the specific function of transitional justice and how well does it serve its purpose, notably in Arabic and Islamic societies? Kastner also relates her theoretical and empirical results to experiences with post-conflict institutions in Chile, Argentina, and South Africa. Her findings show, that transitional justice and the processes its sets in motion may have less to do with truth and reconciliation and more with the need to restore or recreate a collective identity.
Introduction: – From Exception to Rule: The Global Dissemination of Transitional Justice
I. Transitional Justice in the Kingdom of Morocco
II. Global Human Rights Culture: Universalized Experiences of Injustice in World Society
III. Lex Transitus: Diffusing Norms, Standards, and Institutions and the Politics of the Past
IV. Lethology: The Function of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions
V. Morocco: Socializing States in the Context of Universal Human Rights