The Matrix Law Pod Episode 10: Past, Present, Future – Transitional Justice for Turbulent Times – a discussion with Paul Van Zyl


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This week’s podcast explores some of the wider themes exemplified by the Black Lives Matter protest through the lens of transitional justice. Transitional justice is a phrase used to describe how societies once torn apart by conflicts of many sorts, can deal with past legacies and move forward, whether through truth commissions, national apologies, compensation, monuments or a range of other mechanisms of accountability and redress. In this podcast we explore what lessons, if any, can be drawn from the experiences of transition in other societies that have been riddled with injustices be it apartheid in South Africa, or under repressive dictatorships across the globe.  We also explore, in the context of protest, the points at which it ever becomes acceptable to break the law.

Richard Hermer QC, Murray Hunt and Helen Mountfield QC are joined by one of the most prominent thinkers on transitional justice, Paul Van Zyl.  Paul is the former Executive Secretary of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission where he served between 1995 and 1998 before moving to the US where in 2001 he co-founded the International Centre for Transitional Justice, a not for profit organisation working in over 40 countries that have experienced human rights abuses under repressive regimes in order to help secure accountability for crimes and also put in place structures for peaceful co-existence.  Paul has crossed the Atlantic again in recent years, to found the Conduit Club in London.