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Law and Memory
Towards Legal Governance of History


Uladzislau Belavusau, Aleksandra Gliszcyńska-Grabias, Antoon De Baets, Marina Aksenova, Patricia Naftali, Maria Mälksoo, Paolo Lobba, Luigi Cajani, Ioanna Tourkochoriti, Alfons Aragoneses, Jiří Přibáň, Ieva Miluna, Cosmin Sebastian Cercel , Miklós Könczöl, Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz, Nikolay Koposov, Lina Klymenko, Robert A. Kahn, Jeremie Bracka, Michael Morden, Salvador Herencia Carrasco, Eric Heinze
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  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107188754

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About the Authors
  • Legal governance of memory has played a central role in establishing hegemony of monumental history, and has forged national identities and integration processes in Europe and beyond. In this book, a range of contributors explore both the nature and role of legal engagement into historical memory in selected national law, European and international law. They also reflect on potential conflicts between legal governance, political pluralism, and fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression. In recent years, there have been numerous monumental commemoration practices and judicial trials about correlated events all over the world, and this is a prime opportunity to undertake an important global comparative scrutiny of memory laws. Against the background of mass re-writing of history in different parts of the world, this book revisits a fascinating subject of memory laws from the standpoint of comparative law and transitional justice.

    • It is the first volume ever about memory laws covering such a wide spectrum of international and national jurisdictions, from Russia to Peru
    • Addresses the most current legal and political circumstances and developments that influence the governing of history, exploring both the political environment of memory laws as well as court trials involving historical memory
    • Considers comparative, legal dimensions of memory laws, whereas other literature tends to focus on the perspective of the political and sociological sciences
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The law commonly drifts between an obligation to forget and a duty to remember, vigorously endorsed and imposed through the policing of legal truths. The editors of this book offer a spectacular walk down memory lane and a unique must-have to anyone interested in how law shapes historical imagination, populated with selected victims and imposed heroes of the past.' Dimitry Kochenov, Chair in EU Constitutional Law at the University of Groningen, Faculty of Law

    'There is no shortage of academic works on 'collective memory' and on legal instruments to deal with the past. Strangely enough, there has been precious little serious academic literature combining these two themes. The editors of this ambitious, path-breaking volume have done precisely that. By lining up an impressive group of scholars from a large number of countries, they succeeded in painting a rich, interdisciplinary landscape of laws shaping collective memory, and of collective memory shaping the law, in Europe and elsewhere. By producing such a formidable volume they have opened a new stream in the academic thinking about the intersections between law and social memory, and from now on, no scholar tackling these issues will be able to afford to ignore this book.' Wojciech Sadurski,, Challis Professor of Jurisprudence, The University of Sydney and Professor at the Centre for Europe, The University of Warsaw

    'The greatest virtue of this book is that while providing a comparative perspective on various memory laws, it does not attempt to generalize them but rather acknowledges that they remain deeply embedded within national contexts. The collection of the case studies proves that a state's attitude towards public discussion of history reflects its attitude towards the rights of its citizens, and it also shapes the public understandings of the past.' Gábor Halmai, Professor and Chair of Comparative Constitutional Law, European University Institute, Florence

    'Law and Memory: Towards Legal Governance of History is … a timely contribution that expands the field of conventional memory studies by investigating legal norms that are to shape memories. Highly topical, the volume also speaks to political developments presently unfolding.' Félix Krawatzek, Journal of Law and Society

    '… this book provides thorough analyses of a topic relevant for both Law and Memory Studies. Rich in case studies, the essays give the reader a deeper understanding of aspects most vital to the discussion of memory laws. The book … provides important emphasis and an overdue acknowledgment of the relevance of disciplinary cooperation engendering conversation between the two fields of Law and Memory.' Katrin Antweiler, Review Journal for the Study of Culture

    '[T]he dangers of the mediation of history through political idolatry or reactionary memory laws … render the edited volume on Law and Memory: Towards Legal Governance of History essential. … [M]emory laws seem antithetical to the liberal spirit of allowing people the freedom to come to terms with the past, but they also provide an opportunity for the State to effectively sort people into good and bad citizens, based on how much they have internalized a State-sponsored collective discourse.' Suryapratim Roy, The Journal of Comparative Law

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107188754
    • length: 458 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.78kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: memory laws: mapping a new subject in comparative law and transitional justice Uladzislau Belavusau and Aleksandra Gliszcyńska-Grabias
    Part I. International Law:
    1. The UN Human Rights Committee's view of the past Antoon De Baets
    2. The role of international criminal tribunals in shaping the historical accounts of genocides Marina Aksenova
    3. The 'right to truth' in international law: the 'last utopia'? Patricia Naftali
    Part II. European Law (Council of Europe and European Union):
    4. Kononov vs Latvia as the ontological security struggle over remembering the Second World War Maria Mälksoo
    5. Testing the 'uniqueness': denial of the Holocaust vs denial of other crimes before the European Court of Human Rights Paolo Lobba
    6. Legislating history: the European Union and the denial of international crimes Luigi Cajani
    Part III. National Perspectives within European Union:
    7. Challenging historical facts and national truths: an analysis of cases from France and Greece Ioanna Tourkochoriti
    8. Legal silences and the memory of Francoism in Spain Alfons Aragoneses
    9. Politics of public knowledge in dealing with the past: postcommunist experiences and some lessons from the Czech Republic Jiří Přibáň
    10. Adjudication in deportation cases of Latvia and international law Ieva Miluna
    11. Judging the conducător: fascism, communism and legal discontinuity in post-war Romania Cosmin Sebastian Cercel
    12. Dealing with the past in and around the fundamental law in Hungary Miklós Könczöl
    13. On the politics of resentment, mis-memory and constitutional fidelity. The demise of the Polish overlapping consensus? Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz
    Part IV. Perspectives beyond European Union:
    14. Defending Stalinism by means of criminal law: Russia, 1995–2014 Nikolay Koposov
    15. Cutting the umbilical cord: the narrative of the national past and future in Ukrainian de-communization policy Lina Klymenko
    16. Banning genocide denial – should geography matter? Robert A. Kahn
    17. 'From banning Nakba to bridging narratives': the collective memory of 1948 and transitional justice for Israelis and Palestinians Jeremie Bracka
    18. Historical revisionism and the settler state: the Canadian experience Michael Morden
    19. Defense of democracy and the preservation of collective memory through criminal legislation: the challenges of reconciliation in Peru Salvador Herencia Carrasco
    Epilogue: beyond 'memory laws': towards a general theory of law and historical discourse Eric Heinze

  • Editors

    Uladzislau Belavusau, University of Amsterdam
    Uladzislau Belavusau is Senior Researcher in European Law at the T. M. C. Asser Institute (the Hague), Universiteit van Amsterdam.

    Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias, Polish Academy of Sciences
    Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias is Senior Researcher in Human Rights at the Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences.


    Uladzislau Belavusau, Aleksandra Gliszcyńska-Grabias, Antoon De Baets, Marina Aksenova, Patricia Naftali, Maria Mälksoo, Paolo Lobba, Luigi Cajani, Ioanna Tourkochoriti, Alfons Aragoneses, Jiří Přibáň, Ieva Miluna, Cosmin Sebastian Cercel , Miklós Könczöl, Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz, Nikolay Koposov, Lina Klymenko, Robert A. Kahn, Jeremie Bracka, Michael Morden, Salvador Herencia Carrasco, Eric Heinze

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