SOAS University of London

School of Law

Transitional Justice in Asia

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2017/18

This course is designed for students interested in the evolution of transitional justice in Asia, broadly construed.  The course will feature studies across South and Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and may in the future and as topical include studies from other parts of Asia.

The course will complement our existing offerings and expertise in transitional justice or post-atrocity justice, including domestic and hybrid trials, vetting, amnesties, commissions of inquiry, traditional processes, and reparations. As other courses already discuss theories and practice of transitional justice in some detail, this course will primarily emphasize country experiences and evolving practice in Asia.

The course will emphasize one specific region for a number of reasons.  First, until recently, there has been a widespread presumption that transitional justice processes are not only rare in Asia, but not feasible.  This is empirically not the case, and also appears to rely on presumptions about the nature of state and society across a wide region that differentiate it from geographic regions such as Latin America and Africa, which have experienced a range of transitional justice processes. The course will treat Asia as an underexamined region for transitional justice, without presuming commonalities across countries. Second, there are in reality diverse experiences of transitional justice processes, which in some cases quite closely resemble processes utilized elsewhere, while in others diverge in significant ways. The course will benefit from the widespread expertise in SOAS regarding conflict and justice processes in Asia.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course a student should be able to demonstrate:

  • Familiarity with challenges of post-atrocity justice specific to a range of countries in Asia as well as commonalities with other regions.
  • An understanding of the processes of justice and legal and institutional reform in specific countries.
  • An ability to analyze and assess political and legal developments relating to accountability in countries in Asia
  • The ability to present legal issues orally and engage in substantive debates


This course will run in term 2 and will consist of one 2 hour lecture per week for 11 weeks (10 weeks plus a revision week).

Method of assessment

Assessment Weighting:  100% coursework as follows

One 5,000 word essay (75%) - this coursework may be resubmitted; one 1,500 word memo (20%) - this coursework cannot be resubmitted; one 5-10 minute in class presentation (5%) - this coursework cannot be resubmitted.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules