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A t the outset of the American Civil international teams of human rights scholars and practitioners with the International Center for Transitional Justice. The first project was to help make reparations after political violence and repression more sensitive and just to both genders. The second project was a study of how various measures — such as criminal trials, truth commissions and memorial sites — actually work. Walker As significant as this progress is, it is an ongoing and difficult process. Victims and offenders must be prepared and open to face past transgressions, and in some cases, one or both sides might not be ready. Walker points to the failure of the Japanese government to properly acknowledge that thousands of women, mostly Korean, were coerced or kidnapped into sexual enslavement War, 4 million Africans, denied of any personal freedom and liberties, toiled in fields picking cash crops for plantation owners. By the end of World War II, 6 million Jews in Europe were systematically murdered in gas chambers and concentration camps. In 1994, in just 100 days, roughly 500,000 Rwandans were killed and countless women were the victims of brutal rape. In such cases, where torture and brutality were systematically carried out, is justice possible? What does it look like, and how is it achieved? Dr. Margaret Urban Walker, the Donald J. Schuenke Chair of Philosophy at Marquette and author of Moral Repair: Reconstructing Moral Relations After Wrongdoing, has made it her life’s work to better understand what justice means and how to achieve it. “All through history, when it was over, it was just over,” Walker reflects. “We cannot just turn the page. Instead, we need to look at issues and rebuild trust and hope.” Walker says the past 50 years have brought a historical shift in our understanding of justice, a time in which international systems of norms for the basic protection and recognition of individuals have taken hold. Germany’s payments to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust started what has become a growing international emphasis on the human right to individual reparation. As a moral philosopher, these developments allow Walker to not only think about the nature of moral rules and shared norms but to witness how human beings progress morally and come to new convictions and understandings. The author of several books, Walker has also taken an active role to help define and articulate this new concept of justice. Twice she has worked with 14 Discover IN SEARC By Andrew Brodzeller in Japanese Army brothels during World War II or the Lakota Sioux’s refusal to accept a monetary settlement from the U.S. government for the theft of the Black Hills. Though it can be disheartening to think about continued transgressions worldwide, Walker thinks incredible strides have been made in recent generations and that there is hope for a better future. “Through all the history of the world, most human beings have had to hope for luck or mercy rather than justice when they have been terribly wronged,” she says. “But now there is a glimmer of hope that some justice, however small and undependable, is within reach. That is, humanly, incredibly moving.”² focused on how truth commissions function and can be effective. “It has been an extraordinary and exciting experience both to learn from scholars and practitioners worldwide and to contribute to one of the most remarkable phenomena of our times — the systematic pursuit of justice in the aftermath of massive political violence,” she says. This progress has moved the idea of justice from exclusively one of retribution, which focuses on punishment of the offender, to one that includes reparation. This form of justice is meant to help release victims from the disgrace, dishonor and contempt of the wrong they’ve witnessed or endured, while offenders or countries admit to and apologize for the crimes committed. Reparative justice, according to Walker, helps exemplify and establish mutual accountability as moral partners in a shared future. Reparative justice can take many forms, including public apologies, monetary or material amends, creation of memorials, the exhumation and proper reburial of human remains, and access to medical services.