Conflict, Violence and Memory NUBS 4.20
Jul 05, 2023 13:30 - 15:00(Europe/London)
20230705T1330 20230705T1500 Europe/London 4.20. Transitional Justice and Dealing with the Past NUBS 4.20 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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Memory Construction or Dissemination?: Negotiating Historical Narratives in Sierra Leone and Rwanda
Individual paperConflict, Violence and Memory 02:00 PM - 03:30 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 13:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 14:30:00 UTC
In 1994, Rwanda experienced a genocide. During that time, Sierra Leone was experiencing an 11-year civil war. Although these conflicts differed significantly, in both cases, civilians were mobilized to perpetrate violence against their neighbors, and civilians were targets of violence. Twenty years after these violent conflicts concluded, institutions in both contexts grapple with whether and how to teach their sensitive histories to the next generation. This presentation will evaluate if and how classrooms can not only be sites of memory dissemination but also memory construction (Paulson et al. 2020). 
My research suggests, that teachers in Sierra Leone navigate a sparse and silent curriculum by adding case studies of the civil war when discussing mandated topics. Teachers and parents in Sierra Leone, whom are particularly fearful of future violence, view personal storytelling about the war as a much-needed form of civic education. Thus personal narratives of violence are used in the absence of accessible narratives about the war, making classrooms in Sierra Leone active sites of memory construction. Conversely, teachers in Rwanda must negotiate a robust state-sponsored curriculum with the (mis)information students have learned from their parents regarding the genocide. Yet, this becomes particularly challenging due to teachers' fears about sharing the "wrong information" and being charged by the state with genocide ideology or divisionism.
Presenters
JL
Jillian LaBranche
PhD Candidate, University Of Minnesota Twin Cities
Legal Justice and Historical Justice in Post-War and Post-Communist Romania
Individual paperConflict, Violence and Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
My presentation examines the intersection between current competing historical and legal narratives surrounding the controversial legacy of Mircea Vulcănescu (1904-1952), a well-known interwar public intellectual and undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Finance from 1941 to 1944 during the Nazi-allied government in Romania led by Marshall Ion Antonescu. In 1946, Vulcănescu was arrested, tried, and sentenced as a war criminal under Law number 312/1945 for the Prosecution and Punishment of Those Guilty of the Country's Disaster or War Crimes.  He died in Aiud prison while serving his sentence. 
Vulcănescu's alleged heroic death prompted by his altruistic Christian sacrifice to save the life of a younger fellow prisoner, has become after 1989 the basis of a myth promoted by some memory activists of the national anti-communist resistance movement.  Dismissing the decision of the 1946 court as Soviet style political justice, they elevated Vulcănescu to the status of anti-communist hero and national martyr. Despite existing legislation, that criminalizes the public display of fascist symbols and the memorialization of individuals associated with the interwar fascist regime or movements (Emergency Ordinance 31/2002 and Emergency Ordinance 217/2018), public institutions and streets continued to be named after him. Several legal battles pitted local officials, anti-communist memory activists, and Vulcănescu's descendants against the National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania 'Elie Wiesel.' But given that transitional justice legislation seeking to rehabilitate the victims of the communist regime, had explicitly excluded those who adhered to extremist ideologies and movements, Vulcănescu's legal status continues to be tainted.  In 2019, the Bucharest Highest Court of Appeal overturned a 2017 decision of a lower court that declared the political motivation of the 1946 court sentence. 
The focus of my study is a comparative analysis of the two trials. The legal and political contexts under which they were conducted, together with their ensuing politicization and historicization will be addressed. I situate this undertaking within two distinctive but interrelated areas of study. The first, falls under the transitional justice scholarship and examines criminal trials as mechanisms for retribution and accountability for the most serious crimes such as war crimes, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity. The second, examines courts as sites of remembering and refers to a more distant past, which does not directly impact the terms of the political transition but still brings emotionally charged reactions among descendants and some segments of the society. This latter type of trials is referred by scholars as retrospective justice. However, given that in both cases moral and political justice is at stake courts could easily become avenues of "state sponsored history."  Thus, I raise the following questions: To what extent the two trials illustrate the overlap between transitional justice and political justice?   How are multiple pasts in post-communist Romania contested and negotiated in the courts of law? How different is the Vulcănescu trial from the judicial proceedings conducted after 1989 against former officials who committed abuses and crimes against former political prisoners?  
Presenters
MC
Monica Ciobanu
Professor, State University Of New York At Plattsburgh
Official memory policies in Chile and Colombia, a comparative study
Individual paperConflict, Violence and Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
Reparations policies within the framework of transitional justice have been mechanisms used by Chile and Colombia to compensate the damage caused to victims. The objective of this paper is to describe how the notion of memory in official reparations policies in Chile and Colombia is constructed. The methodology used was the transnational comparative analysis, through a content analysis of how memory was constructed in the official memory policies. The results indicate there is a globalized model of memory that can be found through four categories: Relation between memory and official truth, Institutions of memory, Archive as a Device, and Commemoration. As a conclusion, despite the differences of both countries in terms of history, there are very similar guidelines to confront the violent pasts through a global memory model of a prescriptive nature, within the Transitional Justice.
Keywords: Reparations Policies, Politics of Memory, Transnational Comparative Analysis, global memory model, Social Psychology.
Presenters
JA
Juan Carlos Arboleda-Ariza
Universidad Del Valle, Cali Colombia
An unprecedented experience: the Colombian diaspora truth-telling process
Individual paperConflict, Violence and Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
The paper "An unprecedented experience: the Colombian diaspora truth-telling process" focuses on the vital role diasporas play in peacebuilding and socio-political transformation, in today's globalized world with its migrant flows and a big number of displaced people due to violent, social, and political conflicts. The paper, based on the experience of the Colombian Truth Commission with the Colombian diaspora and exile, highlights the importance of designing and supporting processes of inclusion and participation targeting diasporic groups. 
On 26 September 2016, the Final Agreement to End the Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace, between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo), was signed. As a result of the Peace Agreement, a series of Transitional Justice mechanisms were created that are part of a Comprehensive System for Truth, Justice, Reparations and Non-Recurrence. One of these instruments is the Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Recurrence. The Colombian Truth Commission, that undertook its mission from 2018 to 2022 with the aim of clarifying the patterns and causes of human rights violations during the Colombian conflict, promoting the recognition of victims and contributing to coexistence.  
In addition, the Truth Commission had the mandate to work with the Colombian diaspora, as an actor-subject that deserved attention and participation, and carried out an unprecedented process with a high degree of involvement and participation of the "Colombia outside Colombia". According to the Commission's Final Report, more than one million Colombians are in exile.
In order to contribute to the Truth Commission's goals, the Colombian diaspora and victims abroad, jointly with local organizations and institutions, carried out a process that led to the creation of support groups for the Commission's work (also called nodes) in 23 countries worldwide, 10 of them in Europe. Moreover, the Commission collected over 2,000 testimonies of the conflict from exiles living in 24 different countries, including 800 in Europe. With the goal of guiding that work with the Colombian victims residing in Europe, the International Catalan Institute for Peace – ICIP acted as the Technical Secretariat of the Commission in the continent. 
Therefore, from the Colombian diaspora experience, this paper aims to act as an example of the reparatory function participation and recognition of victims have on an individual and a collective level, and how this further contributes to psychosocial healing, closing the wounds of the conflict and to coexistence. That participatory process with the victims in exile themselves leaves a significant amount of lessons learned for future truth commissions, transitional justice processes, as well as initiatives of truth-telling and collective memory from the diasporas and exiles. 
Presenters
SP
Silvia Plana Subirana
Program Coordinator, International Catalan Institute For Peace - ICIP
The Fight of “Forgotten Victims” for their compensation and rehabilitation in postwar Germany
Individual paperConflict, Violence and Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
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In 1944 the Allies founded the European Advisory Commission to discuss the future of Germany in anticipation of its defeat. The commission suggested that post war authorities should provide help to people who were persecuted for political, "racial" and religious reasons in the Third Reich. That decision created the base for the political and legal accountability of Germany regarding compensation and state-sponsored commemorative activities.
Civil society initiatives, such as the "the main committee" (Hauptausschuss) of the "Victims of Fascism", became institutions for social affairs and claims of people persecuted by the Nazis. Other organizations, such as the „Community of destiny of the forgotten victims" founded to represent victims excluded from compensation, were refused to form a legal association by the Allies. In the first months after the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Allies still cooperated in the practice of sustainment for victims of the Nazis with the social and public relief offices (Sozial- und Wohlfahrtsämter) which had sent people to concentration camps before.
With the division of Germany in 1949, the two postwar states followed different compensation practices. West Germany introduced the Federal Compensation Law („Bundesentschädigungsgesetz"(BEG)) in 1953, in which compensation was granted to victims of the Nazi state. In East Germany payments were made to people classified as „victims of the fascism" by the communist state. Though the methods of compensation were different, both practices based on the exclusion of most of the Nazi victims. Sinti und Roma, homosexuals, victims of Euthanasia, "criminals" and "anti-social elements" were neither rehabilitated, nor compensated, nor were they included in memorialization practices. Furthermore, in West Germany communist survivors were denied compensation as they were considered enemies of the "basic free and democratic order". In East Germany payments were only made to people who identified with the communist state.
Slowly a historical dialogue started and „forgotten victims" – such as Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and victims of Euthanasia – started to form organizations to fight for their inclusion in the canons of memory. In West-Germany, the project group „Projektgruppe für die vergessenen Opfer des NS-Regimes in Hamburg e.V." was founded in 1983 and became the main representation of the forgotten victims of the Nazi state. Finally, on 13 February 2020 the German Bundestag – now consisting of a new generations of government representatives – finally recognized people persecuted as "anti-social elements" and "criminals" by the Nazis as official victims; 75 years after the Nazi-German surrender.
This paper will demonstrate how the system of compensation shaped by the Allies was implemented in both German states. It depicts how civil society initiatives and organizations representing "forgotten victims" fought for over seven decades for their rehabilitation, compensation, and memory.  I will further demonstrate how value judgments and political ideas from Nazi period continued to be present after 1945 and a change of mentality occurred in both German countries only in the middle of the 1980's.
Presenters Robert Sommer
Dr. , IBA Berlin
Professor
,
State University of New York at Plattsburgh
Program coordinator
,
International Catalan Institute for Peace - ICIP
Dr.
,
IBA Berlin
PhD Candidate
,
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Professor
,
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
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