When societies have experienced periods of devastating violence, it is important that those responsible are convicted in a court of law. The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung has been calling attention to the importance of addressing the past for decades. The International Criminal Court established on the initiative of the United Nations is the appropriate institution for this. The international community should also work towards all states submitting to the jurisdiction of the Court in The Hague.

International Crime Tribunal For The Former Yugoslawia And Coming To Terms With The Past In The Affected Countries

The break-up of Yugoslavia was characterised by bloody wars, which turned the former brother nations into bitter enemies. This is still affecting the democratic development in the majority of the Yugoslav successor states and the relationships between them. Twenty years after the ICTY was set up, the Tribunal is still playing an important role for the democratic development of the societies that have emerged from the former Yugoslavia and for shaping the relationships between them.

Presence and Future Of The Past

China Between Remembering And Forgetting

There are numerous cataclysmic phases in contemporary Chinese history that are in need of a critical reappraisal. “The Great Leap Forward” (1958-1961) and the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” (1966-1976) are just two examples of deep scars on the collective Chinese psyche. In 1981, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) detailed the framework for a party-politically approved interpretation of the past, which is still cemented in history books today. Beijing is also striving for the monopoly on the accepted historiography in international exchanges.

Processing the Past

International Reports 4|2013

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Silence Or Outrage

How South East Europe’s Media Deal With The Past

Coming to terms with a country’s political past is closely linked to the mass media, as they are the key to changing public opinion. It is only with their support that a general acceptance of democratic structures, not to mention a new perception of history, can be achieved. In South East Europe, this can be seen not only in the way the media deal with the Communist era, but also in their handling of the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. There is a need to improve both good quality reporting and critical self-reflection on the part of the media.

The Contribution of The Khmer Rouge Tribunal To Reconciliation, Remembrance And Memorialisation in Cambodia

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), better known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, attempt to deliver justice for victimised Cambodians and the society at large between 1975 and 1979. Despite the court’s endemic weaknesses, the simple fact that former senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge Regime stand accused of the most unimaginable atrocities is a miracle and an achievement in the fight against impunity for mass human rights violations.

Continued Ascent Possible

West African Women in Politics and Society

Although no opportunity is missed for West Africa’s governments and political parties to emphasise the importance of the role of women in their countries’ future development, what is lacking, however, is the kind of recognition and political representation necessary to reflect their actual importance to society.


Various attributes have been assigned to the recent rebellions and upheavals in the Arab World: rebellion by the young, by the disadvantaged as well as by those who had been barred or at least hindered from genuine participation in political, economic and social life. All these observations are valid, but they are not complete without looking at the other side of the coin: they also were to a large extent female.

Romania after the elections

A country searching for its path into the future, and encountering its past as it does so

In December, the Romanians elected a new parliament — half a year after Romania’s prime minister, Victor Ponta, caused international alarm by attempting to force the country’s president to step down. The degree of indignation felt by the Romanian population can be judged most of all by the low turnout in the elections, if not in the election result itself.

The Rise of Women’s Political and Entrepreneurial Power in Asia’s growing Economies

Insights from the Philippines

Although the Philippines is perceived as diverging from the regional norm in regard to the role of women in society generally speaking, it shares some of the disadvantages suffered by women elsewhere in the Asian region on account of gender. Even at present, Filipino women remain disadvantaged in the country’s laws pertaining to persons and family relations, for example.

About this series

This periodical responds to questions concerning international issues, foreign policy and development cooperation. It is aimed at access of information about the international work for public and experts.

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