Source: (2003) Otago Law Review. 10(3):345-370. Downloaded 16 November 2005.

According to David Dyzenhaus, one of the fastest growing areas of academic study in humanities, social sciences, and law is the topic of transitional justice. Study of this area includes a number of theoretical and practical questions and issues. Dyzenhaus remarks that the questions and issues collected under the study of transitional justice are not really new; they are as old as academic inquiry itself. Yet the emergence of this area of study is in fact characterized as something new. Dyzenhaus disputes this claim and casts doubt on the constitutive assumptions of the field of transitional justice. To help to substantiate his more general argument about this area of study, he examines one specific transitional situation (South Africa) and one issue in that situation – namely, the role of independent judges in upholding the rule of law. In doing so, he contends that the set of problems collected under the topic of “transitional justice” are best addressed when they are seen as not novel and therefore as not deserving of their own academic discipline. Rather, they are more dramatic occurrences of problems faced by all societies.


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