Transitional justice

In this area, the ICLHR Initiative has in particular:

  • organised a short course and a workshop at two Polish universities (details below);
  • inspired and co-ordinated the co-operation between different institutions that resulted in the publishing of teaching resources for teachers related to law, human rights and prosecution of war crimes (publication of further materials, related to a lecture co-organized by ICLHR and related to Nazi crimes during WWII, is expected to happen in Autumn 2014); organised a lecture series “What can lawyers learn from the investigations of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN)?”;
  • co-organized a screening of a film about a political trial in post-WWII Poland, and created a dedicated website to the topic in Polish and English (to be expanded substantively and maintained as separate activity in the future);
  • organised an internal seminar on the civil war in Spain and its legacy;
  • hosted a discussion with a high representative of the Instutute of National Remembrance with a special focus on the historical Volyn crimes.

On the basis of our substantive and methodological research we also aim at creation of a teaching scenario inspired by a decision of the Polish Institute of National Remembrence.

The Legal Tools Database is also a tool in furthering the cause of reconciliation, truth, and peace by facilitating access to knowledge. ICLHR Initative has published there materials relevant to, among others, WWII, Katyń crime, crimes commited in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda. Our collaborators come from different regions and countries (Serbia, Poland, Australia, Ukraine, Kirgistan...), which facilitates search and access to documents we register.

To give some details on exemplary activity, we can mention the short course conducted for law students at University of Szczecin. It was dedicated to the crime against humanity of illegal deprivation of liberty, and was inspired by a precedent judgement concerning the events during martial law in Poland in 1981. The course consisted of: a lecture of the IPN prosecutor on the investigation; seminar on the legal ramifications of the illegal internment during martial law joint with a workshop on writing an indictment; observation of court hearing in the case of illegal internment; and writing of a short text (essay) on the chosen topic. The other workshop on martial law, held in Warsaw, contained in particular a role-play game with students taking a stand on coming to terms with the 1981 martial law from the perspectives of the government, an international human rights monitoring body, and an association of victims of martial law.

Our collaborators currently active in the area are: Tomasz Lachowski, Josipa Šarić, Konrad Lipiński, and Jacek Kowalewski. This team is expanding and the Initiave is consolidating its activities in the area.

Let us also mention that our partner organisation, the Case Matrix Network, organises this year two international conferences on the history of international criminal law – see and The ICLHR Initiative aims at popularising these works and their results in Poland and in the region.

Additional information