Memory and Justice

An exchange between art, law and civil society on human rights abuses, torture and methods of addressing past wrongs

Institute – Cooperation Academy of Fine Arts – Justice and Memory

The Shoah, the Rwandan Genocide and the history of military dictatorship violence in Argentina are just three examples of mass violence and mass crimes that have often been addressed – though far from conclusively – by artists, lawyers and other societal actors. Meanwhile, impunity persists for colonial crimes in Algeria, torture in the so-called war on terror and violence in Syria. All of these situations have one thing in common: in the discussion on the response to these crimes, there is little interaction between lawyers, political scientists, activists and artists.


At the symposium the debate aimed to shed light on the complex relationship between law, collective memory and the creation of a historical narrative: What is the link between prosecutions in a courtroom and a civil society culture of remembering? What are the cultural and political consequences of impunity and public silence concerning grave crimes? And what ethical questions arise when portraying the suffering of others? With this thematic spectrum and several high profile guests the event is aimed at a broad, politically engaged audience.


This was a joint project by the Akademie der Künste and ECCHR. The program was curated by Wolfgang Kaleck, General Secretary of ECCHR and includes podium discussions, film screenings, readings and an exhibition of artistic works, with contributions by Jeanine Meerapfel, Wolfgang Kaleck, Eduardo Molinari, Forensic Architecture, Nghia Nuyen, Silvina Der-Meguerditchian et al.


Gedächtnis und Gerechtigkeit © Akademie der Künste
Gedächtnis und Gerechtigkeit © Akademie der Künste

Documents (1)


Topics (2)



The law is clear: torture is prohibited under any circumstances. Whoever commits, orders or approves acts of torture should be prosecuted. This is set out in the UN Convention against Torture which has been ratified by 146 states.

Show More