Book Launch: Illiberal Transitional Justice and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Event details

Book Launch

Date & time

Wednesday 01 May 2019


Atrium, Hedley Bull Building #130, corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU
ANU Canberra


Professor Bina D'Costa


Mitch Clyne

In this book, Rebecca Gidley examines the creation and operation of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a hybrid domestic/international tribunal tasked with putting senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge on trial. She argues that the ECCC should be considered an example of illiberal transitional justice, where the language of procedure is strongly adhered to but political considerations often rule in reality. Over more than a decade in operation, and with three people convicted, the ECCC has not contributed to the positive goals expected of transitional justice mechanisms. Through the Cambodian example, this book challenges existing assumptions and analyses of transitional justice to create a more nuanced understanding of how and why transitional justice mechanisms are employed.

“Navigating the twisting Byzantine pathways of Cambodia’s opaque political system with a sure hand, Rebecca Gidley offers a subtle, nuanced reading of Cambodia’s political scene. If the community of those studying transitional justice is persuaded by the arguments in this book, as well they should be, then a whole new genre of the literature will emerge which treats those illiberal examples of transitional justice.” – Craig Etcheson, Harvard School of Public Health

Rebecca Gidley is a Research Fellow in the Department of Political and Social Change, at the Australian National University. She completed her PhD in history from ANU in July 2017. She has published on topics including narratives of mass atrocities, the physical location of courts, and the role of historians as expert witnesses.

Bina D’Costa is Senior Fellow/Associate Professor in the Department of International Relations in the Coral Bell School. She is also the school’s Deputy Director - Education. She is the author of seven books including Nationbuilding, War Crimes and Gender in South Asia. Bina has written extensively on transitional justice; provided various technical inputs to the ICTR (International Crimes Tribunal Rwanda) and OHCHR (the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner) victim and witness protection support mechanisms on sexual and gender based violence, and to Sri Lanka’s war crimes and justice processes between 2009-2014; and served as an expert witness at the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh between 2011-2012.

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