Towards Transitional Justice: Recognition, Truth-telling, and Institutional Abuse in Ireland

This international conference took place at Boston College on November 1st and 2nd, 2018.

About the conference (taken from the conference website here):

This conference brings together scholars, survivors, and activists in the international field of Transitional Justice, with a specific focus on the Irish state’s response to the nation’s history of institutional abuse. Researchers, students and interested members of the public are welcome to attend.

Traditionally, transitional justice has been focused on moments of dramatic political transformation and transfers of power (i.e., regime change). It promises a more “holistic,” survivor/victim-focused, approach to historic injustice, in part because it combines the four key elements of justice, reparation, truth-telling, and guarantees of non-recurrence. More recently, scholars are considering the application of this approach to the institutional abuses of settled democracies.

Our conference pursues a twofold conversation: we will discuss the efficacy of a transitional justice approach to Ireland’s history of institutional abuse and consider the State’s response to this legacy. Privileging victim/survivor testimony, we will ask the following questions: What do the methods with which Ireland has attempted to deal with its past tell us about the State’s current approach to power and vulnerability? What is it that Ireland still needs to learn about its treatment of vulnerable women and children? What are the implications of recent State-sponsored investigations for contemporary women, children and other citizens in vulnerable situations? Can truth-telling and a guarantee of non-recurrence take place in the absence of access to records and information held in public and private archives?

What can Ireland learn from transitional justice responses to similar histories in other jurisdictions? Does transitional justice have the potential to assist Ireland in building a Human Rights infrastructure and thereby help guarantee non-recurrence of these failures?

This conference is free and open to the public.

Click here for further information.

Click here to download the conference flyer.