Set the junta free: Pre-transitional justice in Myanmar's democratisation

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Myanmar is in political deadlock. In part, this is because the opposition has not confronted problems of transitional justice, notably how to deal with members of the military junta who have participated in gross human rights violations. There are therefore few incentives for the ruling generals to consider talking about change. To tackle this problem, the article develops a model of pre-transitional justice that is focused on the critical ‘torturer problem'. It is also informed by recent developments in international criminal law, and by the spread of truth commissions and lustration systems. The integrated reconciliatory model that results is suitable for political negotiation, capable of generating discontinuities with an authoritarian past, and legally and technically feasible. Applying it to Myanmar, the article holds that qualified amnesty is necessary for political reform.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: City University of Hong Kong

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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