LAW 5703: Post-Conflict & Transitional Justice Seminar - 2181

Post-Conflict & Transitional Justice Seminar
Class Term:
Fall Term 2017-2018
Catalog Number:
Class Number:
Class Schedule:
10:30 am
12:20 pm
3 (2 Contact, 0 Field)
Graduation Requirements:
Upper-Level Writing
"W" Writing
Seminar - 3rd Year Priority
Full Year Course:
Standard Courses

Additional Information

The State Department’s Diplomacy Lab has awarded Pitt Law Professor Matiangai Sirleaf a project for Fall 2017 that will allow Pitt Law students to engage in innovative and groundbreaking research. Diplomacy Lab is a public-private partnership between the State Department and U.S. colleges and universities. Partner schools participating in Diplomacy Lab conduct research around various topics presented to them by the State Department in areas including climate change, democracy and human rights, counterterrorism, global health as well as energy security. Partner universities are responsible for recruiting student teams to undertake Diplomacy Lab projects and faculty members to guide the teams.
Under the guidance of Professor Sirleaf, a team of interested students in her Post-Conflict and Transitional Justice Seminar will conduct research for the State Department on how to shape security provisions during the transitional phase following a conflict. Students will investigate models for transnational security arrangements and evaluate lessons learned in security sector reform as well as disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation programs. The research team will provide case studies to the State Department analyzing relevant peace agreements and processes to assist diplomats with forging creative solutions in the volatile time during the negotiation and early implementation of peace accords. Over the course of the semester, Professor Sirleaf will guide students in developing a final work product that accomplishes the goals outlined by the State Department. Students will also have opportunity throughout the semester to discuss their research with State Department officials.

Grading Details

20% Class attendance / participation
20% Class presentation, accompanied by a-four page annotated bibliography
60% Final paper


This seminar will introduce students to the field of post-conflict or transitional justice. Transitional justice as a field refers to a wide range of approaches that societies undertake to reckon with legacies of widespread or systematic human rights abuse as they move from a period of violent conflict or oppression towards peace, democracy, the rule of law, and respect for individual and collective rights. In theory and practice, the aim of transitional justice mechanisms is to confront legacies of abuse and repression in a broad and holistic manner that encompasses retributive justice, restorative justice, social justice, and economic justice. As a field, transitional justice focuses on several approaches to confronting the past, including: prosecutions, truth-seeking mechanisms, reparations, reform of abusive institutions and lustration. The seminar will also explore several crosscutting issues, including the role of amnesty during transition, initiatives aimed at engendering reconciliation as well as other approaches to addressing human rights violations such as distributive justice strategies.

Post-Conflict & Transitional Justice Seminar