(B) Can we use law to hold the past to account?
From Prepared Remarks
Shlomo Avineri
Professor, Department of Political Science, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

When we move from such enormities as Nazi mass murders to other cases - be they internal transitions in Eastern Europe, South Africa, Latin America or recent developments in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and East Timor, the issues are far more complex. Here the issue is to find a balance between keeping an historical memory as part of the national narrative, making individuals pay for acts which by any universally-accepted standards were criminal (even if they have not been criminal according to the law of the land when perpetrated) - and last and not least, how to integrate all these considerations into a political project which at least partially aims at national re-conciliation. To this one should add that in most cases of transition, yesterday=s dictators turned over power peacefully: not voluntarily (they were, after all, forced to do so by the political circumstances), but in various ways - whether in Poland, South Africa or Chile - the transition was part of a negotiated settlement. At the end of the day, Jaruzelski, de Klerk, Pinochet and Honnecker participated actively or at least acquiesced in the transfer of power and the transition to democracy.