Over the years, transitional justice and related human rights issues have featured in many films and documentaries, as well as have been the subject of a number of significant on-line multi-media archives. After discussing examples of this genre that address two of the countries on which we (Dr. David Backer and Dr. Zachary D. Kaufman) specialize – Rwanda and South Africa – we began to search for additional items and discovered that a comprehensive inventory of these media was lacking.
Consequently, we set out to compile our own list, thereby creating a public good that we believe will be useful in the following ways:
- As an intellectual resource: Around the world, a large community of activists, policy makers and scholars is engaged in recommending, implementing and studying transitional justice measures. These media provide basic information and novel insights on the processes that are involved, drawing upon a mixture of first-hand perspectives, dramatizations and other interpretations of events.
- As a teaching aid: Many courses at various levels – high school, undergraduate, graduate/professional – examine human rights issues. A sizeable percentage of these courses highlight the topic of transitional justice during one or more class sessions, if not an entire semester. A few already include audio-visual media, whereas others currently do not. We hope that both teachers and students will find this list helpful in supplementing current lesson plans, assignments, etc.
- As a tool to raise public awareness: Audio-visual media, especially films, are often effective means of communicating to the general public about important subject matter. For some people, such media provide the first and perhaps only exposure to a topic. The intent of our list to solidify that role, to encourage the development of the genre and its practical applications to relevant settings, and to create opportunities for further learning and consciousness-raising.
We have made a sincere effort to include a large range of items from many different countries, but accept that the list is incomplete. Therefore, we consider this document to be a work in progress and invite anyone who is interested to submit to us proposed additions or changes.