Source: (2002) Ethics & International Affairs. 16 (2): 109-116.

Catherine Lu begins with a frank acknowledgment of the challenging moral questions that arise in the aftermath of human wrongs. The ethics and politics of transitional social and political contexts are widely contested in theory and practice, even by people who share the same basic moral and political concerns to redeem the suffering of victims and to forge a future free from the violations of the past. One critic of many transitional approaches is Robert Meister, who has argued that much of the human rights discourse on the ethics and politics of transition ultimately sacrifices justice for victims. In this essay, Catherine Lu examines Meister’s analysis to draw out the problematic implications of such an understanding of victimhood as a moral claim in transitional politics.