Nikolina Židek

Nikolina Židek

Associate Professor, IE University Madrid, School of International Relations / External Associate of Documenta, Center for Dealing with the Past

  • Former activities:

    Croatian professional diplomat

  • Examples of concrete activities I have organized/am organizing in the field of “dealing with the past”:

    I am with Documenta an external associate. I was the author of two chapters in the book War Crimes Trials- Guarantee of the process of dealing with the past and sustainability of judicial reforms in Croatia edited by Documenta.

    I wrote my PhD thesis on “Transitional justice and EU enlargement to Croatia and Serbia” and I continue to do research in the field of transitional justice.

    Within my “Eastern Europe after the Fall of the Berlin Wall” course at IE University, one session is specifically dedicated to dealing with the past.

  • Concrete challenges I am facing in my “dealing with the past”-related work:

    Trials against perpetrators of war crimes represent the will of the state to clarify past events and bring justice to the victims. Positive outcomes of transitional justice in the aftermath of conflicts depend on the institutions capable of tackling transitional justice issues and delivering justice and human rights. Fair domestic trials for human rights violations depend on independent and fair judiciary that should be reformed in post-conflict societies. But judicial reform is a long-term process, while transitional justice seeks immediate remedy for the post-conflict society. Therefore my research is focused on the role of the judiciary in the aftermath of non-democratic regimes, the main challenge is the lack of access to all the judicial sentences in war crimes trials and to the official statistical data.

  • My personal link to/interest for the topic of “dealing with difficult pasts”:
    Apart from coming from Croatia, I have been living in Argentina and Spain, three societies with different attitudes towards dealing with the past after non-democratic periods. While living in Argentina, I learned how important it is for the societies to deal with their pasts and how slow and incomplete is the process of healing the wounds after atrocities occur. On the other hand, in Spain I saw what happened to the society when it does not deal with its past at all and carries out deliberate oblivion. That motivated me to dedicate my research to this field, especially regarding the main stakeholders of transitional justice in each society, with a special emphasis on the judiciary as a main tool of bringing justice to the victims and acknowledging their sufferings and a sign of the (re)establishment of the rule of law.