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Research project

TJG - Transitional justice in Greece

This project has received funding via the EUI Widening Programme call 2024. The EUI Widening Europe Programme initiative, backed by contributions from the European Union and EUI Contracting States, is designed to strengthen internationalisation, competitiveness, and quality in research in Widening countries, and thus foster a more cohesive European Higher Education and Research area.

The project will examine how retributive, compensatory, and restorative forms of justice were and were not applied in the Greek case at various junctures from the end of the Second World War (1945) to the present. The project will also trace how elite decisions regarding retributive, compensatory, and restorative justice contributed to the processes of state consolidation, democratization, and the formation of salient political cleavages in Greek society.

Theoretically, the proposed project will draw on a wealth of existing literature on transitional justice and post-conflict reconciliation from political science, social psychology and sociology. The project will draw from studies that focus on retributive, compensatory and restorative justice to compare and contrast with the case of Greece. Retributive justice relates to the various punishment mechanisms employed by the Greek state in the transitional period, including imprisonment, exile, torture, and death. Compensatory justice refers to actions and policies taken to compensate victims, such as reparations, targeted social welfare and development policies, special legal mechanisms, and symbolic gestures. Restorative justice, by contrast, refers to processes that unite the victims and perpetrators of past crimes in dialogue with the hope of transforming the relationship and bringing about reconciliation

Among the central questions this project seeks to address are:  What were the elite-level political dynamics that led to the selection of various transitional justice strategies during the Second World War (1940-45), the post-Civil War (1946-1949) and post-junta (1967-1974) periods in Greece? To what extent did judicial redress contribute to human rights violations in these periods, reflecting the pursuit of 'victor’s justice'?

Beyond these questions, the project will also pay attention to the broader context of the Greek case. How did the international context assist or inhibit transitional justice and the process of healing of 'past wrongdoings'? Here the project will examine the role of the Cold-War superpower antagonism (USA vs USSR), the rules and normative frameworks set by international organisations (UN, European Economic Community (EEC)/European Union (EU) etc.), as well as regional antagonisms such as those between Greece and Turkey. 

External Partners

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