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Program on Alternative Dispute Resolution

2010-11 Schwartz Lecture on Dispute Resolution

The Timing of Truth, Reconciliation and Justice After War

John BraithwaiteApril 5, 2011 | Noon | Saxbe Auditorium

John Braithwaite
Australian Research Council Federation Fellow
Founder of RegNet (the Regulatory Institutions Network) at the Australian National University

Archived Webcast: Real Player | Windows Media Player

The Annual Schwartz Lecture on Dispute Resolution will feature John Braithwaite, a renowned force in the restorative justice movement. Braithwaite is the founder and head of the Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet) at the Research School for Social Sciences at Australian National University in Canberra and an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow.

In his speech, Braithwaite will explain the challenges with how Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs) are increasingly being used to discover and reveal past wrongdoing following armed conflict. They are often established with a requirement that they report within two or three years. A problem with such speedy reporting is that the most traumatized victims often take the longest time to be ready to participate in transitional justice. The experience of the civil war in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, also demonstrates that it often takes many years of traditional reconciliation work before perpetrators of the worst atrocities acquire the confidence that they can confess their crimes without fear of revenge attacks. Collective confessions (by military units) often preceded individual confession of war crimes. Braithwaite draws on his extensive experience documenting such commissions to consider the dilemmas of designing a system that permits appropriate sequencing of truth, justice, and reconciliation after war. He makes a case for designing TRCs that are permanent institutions, keeping their doors open to assist with truth, reconciliation, and justice at whatever point in time victims and perpetrators are emotionally ready. By the time all the survivors have died, the TRC may function as no more than a museum that stores their testimony and the artifacts of their suffering, transmitting memory of war and reconciliation to the next generation.

About John Braithwaite

Braithwaite is the recipient of a number of international awards and prizes for his work, including an honorary doctorate at KU Leuven, Europe’s leading university in the field of restorative justice (2008); the Stockholm Prize in Criminology from the Swedish Ministry of Justice (2006), and the Prix Emile Durkheim, International Society of Criminology, for lifetime contributions to criminology (2005). Braithwaite has authored several books, including Crime, Shame and Reintegration, which was awarded The Australian Sociological Association Award for One of the 10 Most Influential Books in the History of Australian Sociology.

He currently leads a long-term project called Peacebuilding Compared, which involves the healing of entire societies ravaged by war. The project aims to document the successes and failures of peacekeeping efforts around the world, to present reports for each continent, and to have an impact on future efforts. The first volume on the research of this project, Anomie and Violence, and two subsequent volumes can be downloaded free from ANU E Press.

Learn more about Mr. Braithwaite.

About the Schwartz Lecture on Dispute Resolution

The Schwartz Lecture on Dispute Resolution was established in 1992 as a result of the generosity of the late Stanley Schwartz Jr. (a 1947 Moritz College of Law graduate) and the Schwartz family. Each lecture is published in the interdisciplinary Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, in keeping with Mr. Schwartz’s interest in the promotion of scholarly publication in the area of dispute resolution.