Memory and Justice
An exchange between art, law and civil society on human rights abuses,
torture and methods of addressing past wrongs
The Shoah, the Rwandan Genocide and the history of military dictatorship violence in Argentina are just three examples of mass violence and mass crimes that have often been addressed – though far from conclusively – by artists, lawyers and other societal actors. Meanwhile, impunity persists for colonial crimes in Algeria, torture in the “war on terror” and violence in Syria. All of these situations have one thing in common: in the discussion on the response to these crimes, there is little interaction between lawyers, political scientists, activists and artists.
The symposium “Memory and Justice” creates a platform for interdisciplinary debates – spanning various epochs and regions – on legal proceedings, inquiries and other state responses to grave crimes and the extent of civil society participation in these processes. Participants will discuss historical and current themes such as the development of international criminal justice since the Nuremberg Trials and efforts to address dictatorship crimes in Latin America as well as examples of colonial crimes around the globe and their follow-on effects.
The debate will aim to shed light on the complex relationship between law, collective memory and the creation of a historical narrative: What is the link between prosecutions in a courtroom and a civil society culture of remembering? What are the cultural and political consequences of impunity and public silence concerning grave crimes? And what ethical questions arise when portraying the suffering of others?
With this thematic spectrum and several high profile guests the event is aimed at a broad, politically engaged audience.
The program is curated by Wolfgang Kaleck, General Secretary of ECCHR and includes podium discussions, film screenings, readings and an exhibition of artistic works.
A joint project by the Akademie der Künste and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), supported by Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung.