A book talk with Roman David, Professor and Head of the Sociology & Social Policy Department at Lingnan University, as he discusses his findings in his recent work Communists and Their Victims. Facilitator: Carr fellow, Stephan Parmentier. In Communists and Their Victims, Roman David identifies and examines four classes of justice measures—retributive, reparatory, revelatory, and reconciliatory - to discover which, if any, rectified the legacy of human rights abuses committed during the communist era in the Czech Republic. Conducting interviews, focus groups, and nationwide surveys between 1999 and 2015, David looks at the impact of financial compensation and truth-sharing on victims' healing and examines the role of retribution in the behavior and attitudes of communists and their families. Emphasizing the narratives of former political prisoners, secret collaborators, and former Communist Party members, David tests the potential of justice measures to contribute to a shared sense of justice and their ability to overcome the class structure and ideological divides of a formerly communist regime. Complementing his original research with analysis of legal judgments, governmental reports, and historical records, David finds that some justice measures were effective in overcoming material and ideological divides while others obstructed victims' healing and inhibited the transformation of communists. Identifying "justice without reconciliation" as the primary factor hampering the process of overcoming the past in the Czech Republic, Communists and Their Victims promotes a transformative theory of justice that demonstrates that justice measures, in order to be successful, require a degree of reconciliation.
9 Oct 2018
Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, United States, Massachusetts