Source: (2003) In Nigel Biggar, ed., Burying the Past: Making Peace and Doing Justice after Civil Conflict. Expanded and updated. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. Pp. 65-84.

In the 1990s many countries experienced transitions from more authoritarian and repressive regimes to more democratic and open systems. Such experiences raise questions about how people deal with the past – with human rights violations, injustices, and violence. While the questions are not in themselves new, writes Tuomas Forsberg, the context of a normative democratic ethos is new. Additionally, efforts to deal with past injustices occur in an increasingly international, not simply national, arena. With all of this in mind, Forsberg looks at new ways of coming to terms with the past. These include, in various parts of the world, truth commissions and war tribunals. Many have spoken of these questions and efforts in terms of “transitional justice.â€? Forsberg finds this label somewhat misleading: issues of dealing with the past do not always arise in transitional contexts. Nevertheless, the experiences, studies, and discussion of justice with respect to the past have yielded many positive results. To add to the discussion, Forsberg examines alternative strategies for dealing with the past, a hierarchy of aims, and a normative analysis of transitional justice (in terms of motivation, process, and success).