Source: (2001) Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. 40: 89.

In the last ten years or more, a number of countries have experienced transformations from authoritarian regimes, characterized by oppression and violence, to democratic governments. Such transitions are often difficult and lengthy. Many features of a robust democracy and economy take considerable effort and time to develop and establish, especially under the pressure of simultaneously seeking accountability for past human rights abuses. Maryam Kamali presents the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Republic of South Africa as contrasting models of transitional justice. They serve as useful case studies to identify what approach to justice and reconciliation works best in newly democratized societies. Hence, Kamali aims to develop broad lessons for transitional justice in other parts of the world through a comparison of the different legal approaches to accountability for human rights violations in East Germany and South Africa.