The University of Chicago News Office
April 15, 1997 Press Contact: William Harms
(773) 702-8356

Conference on World Wide Human Rights

Leading international figures in human rights will speak at the conference “Justice or Reconciliation,” to be held Friday, April 25, and Saturday, April 26, at the Law School of the University of Chicago, 1111 E. 60th St. and at Hotel Intercontinental, 505 N. Michigan Ave. The conference, which is co-sponsored by the University’s Center for International Studies, is free and open to the public.

“We will be examining a number of important questions, such as: In what circumstances is the use of the judicial process preferable to ‘truth telling’ as part of reconciliation?” said Rashid Khalidi, Professor in History and Director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago. “We will also be looking at emerging democracies to see if prosecutions of former human rights violators represents ‘victors’ justice. We want to learn what conditions are necessary for the political possibility of reconciliation.”

The conference will open with the third annual WBEZ Sondra Gair Memorial Lecture at 5 p.m. Friday, April 25, at the Hotel Intercontinental. Speakers for the lecture are Mac Maharaj, minister of transport for the Republic of South Africa, and Judge Jutta Limbach, president of the constitutional court of Germany.

Maharaj was an opponent of apartheid under the old regime in South Africa and was imprisoned for 12 years for his activities. He was an alternate delegate to the multiparty negotiations that led to the creation of South Africa’s new constitution, and has served in his current position since 1994.

Limbach, a law professor at the Free University of Berlin, was elected senator of justice of the city and state of Berlin in 1989. She was elected justice and president of the German constitutional court in 1994.

The conference will continue Saturday, April 26, at the Law School, where Mahmood Mamdani, professor of African studies at the University of Cape Town, and Juan Mendez, executive director of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, will speak at 9:30 a.m. Responding to their talks will be Jacqueline Bhabha, Lecturer in the Law School and Associate Director of the Center for International Studies; Michael Geyer, Professor in History; and John Comaroff, the Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in Anthropology.

At 2 p.m., Mendez and Mamdani will be on a panel with Maharaj and Judge Richard Goldstone of the constitutional court of South Africa.
Last modified at 03:50 PM CST on Wednesday, June 14, 2000.

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