Transitional Shortcuts to Justice and National Identity

TitleTransitional Shortcuts to Justice and National Identity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsVenema, D
JournalRatio Juris

National legal systems undergo profound changes when they are confronted with undemocratic power seizure. The same occurs when they experience a transition (back) to democracy. Thus far, these two types of transition have been studied in relative isolation. Nevertheless, it seems that both undemocratic usurpers and democratizing regimes affect the role of fundamental rule-of-law principles in similar ways. This article compares both types of transition and suggests that pragmatism and national identity are the driving forces behind similar legal mechanisms, affecting legal principles, in those two forms of transition. Drawing on Carl Schmitt's idea of the state of exception and Ruti Teitel's work on transitional justice, this article shows that both kinds of transition share the same fundamental legal structure