Transitional justice is a unique form of justice. It is implemented in societies changing forms of government and recovering from massive human rights violations. The concept was used in the late 1980s and the 1990s to describe the transitions occurring in eastern Europe and South Africa. Communism disintegrated in eastern Europe, and South Africa ended apartheid and became a democratized state. The question was what to do with the perpetrators of mass human rights violations over the previous 50–75 years. In order for South Africa to successfully transition, it had to reconcile its past through forgiveness or punishment. Hence, it had to complete a process of transitional justice.

The term transitional justice is often used to describe methods of justice put in place after a ...

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