News and events


    Cycle of 22 MELA-seminars in Bologna (February - November 2018)


    Interrelationships between criminal law, time and collective memory have evolved and taken new forms in recent years. These phenomena are underlain by frictions between the flow of time, the protection of historical memory, the interest in criminal prosecutions and punishment. This, in turn, reflects on the role and the forms of intervention one wants to assign to law and especially to criminal law.

    The Italian MELA team and the PhD Programme of Legal Studies of the University of Bologna seek to dissect the issues raised by these interrelations and trade-offs from multiple disciplinary angles, in light of the values and rights at stake.

    In the words of the French Roman lawyer Yan Thomas, “the question is not: what are the effects of time? But: what effects do we decide to attribute to time? For a political question, a political choice is required. Whatever the decision, it will only be a political-juridical operation over time. [...] It is evident that, in law, time is always artificially constructed.”

    Please see the document attached for the schedule of the seminars.

    Time, Memory and Criminal Law - Schedule.pdf

  • On 17 January 2018, the University of Oxford organised a book launch for the volume "Law and Memory" by Dr. Ulad Belavusau and Dr. Aleksandra Gliszczyńka-Grabias, published at Cambridge University Press. 

    ulad belavusau


    Prof. Dennis Galligan and Dr. Krawatzek from Oxford discussed the book together with Prof. Eric Heinze and MELA's external partner, Dr. Ioanna Tourkochoriti. The programme of the colloquium is available here.

    MELA members


  • On 11-12 January, MELA PhD researchers Anna Wojcik and Marina Bán presented at the conference "Populism, Nationalism and Human Rights" at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.

    conference panel


    Marina Bán spoke about The Illiberal State Using the Memory of Communism: the Case of Hungary.

    Anna Wojcik discussed the Law on pensions of former “employees of the totalitarian state” in Poland: populist anti-communism and social rights.

  • How we remember the past is subject to legal regulation in many parts of Europe. We prohibit genocide denial and the glorification of totalitarianism, make historical claims in the preambles of constitutions, prescribe how to teach history in school curricula, and more. How is this done, and which problems with fundamental rights and minority protection arise?


    TMC Asser logoVerfassungsblog logo


    On 4 January, T.M.C. Asser Instituut and Verfassungsblog launched a joint online symposium on memory laws. Every day for a fortnight, there will be new topical contributions from both MELA members and external experts exploring the above questions and their constitutional answers. 

    The first blogpost launching this discussion dealt with a recent Polish memory law. It was written by Ulad Belavusau and published on Verfassungsblog last month. The joint symposium begins with a post by Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias about legal governance of historical memory.

  • MELA Polish team members participated at the conference "Present Past: Time, Memory, and the Negotiation of Historical Justice", organised by The Historical Dialogues, Justice, and Memory Network at Columbia University on 7 December 2017.

    conference programme

    Their panel on Using and Abusing ‘Memory Laws’ in Historical Justice Discourse: the Case of Poland, chaired by Dr Agi Legutko, included the following presentations:

    • Dr Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias: “Calling Murders by Their Names as an Act of Betrayal of One’s Nation: The Jedwabne Pogrom Case and the Crime of ‘Defamation of the Polish Nation’”
    • Dr Grażyna Baranowska: “Using ‘Genocide’ in International Relations: Resolution of the Polish Parliament on the Wołyń Massacre of 1943-1944 and its Implications”
    • Anna Wójcik: “Economic Revenge on Post-Communist Elites through Law on Pensions: the Case of Poland under Second Law and Justice Government”


  • On 14-15 December, Eric Heinze, Nanor Kebranian and Ulad Belavusau presented at a conference organised by MELA external partners TAPAS (Thinking about the Past) at the University of Ghent.

    The conference (Dis)Claiming Pasts:Ownership, Responsibility and Contestation explores the different strategies, techniques and arguments for (dis)claiming particular pasts, and the different aims and motivations that underpin them.

    conference room

  • Dr Ulad Belavusau presented at the conference "The Frog Hibernation. Ten years of Laws and Memorial Policies in Spain and Catalonia (2007-2017)".

    The conference was organised by MELA external partner - European Observatory on Memories in Barcelona, Spain from 28 - 30 November. Dr Belavusau discussed the laws, policies and memories in Europe with other panellists Georges Mink and Maria Mälksoo, moderated by Oriol López.



  • Dr Emanuela Fronza and Paolo Caroli from the MELA Italian team spoke at a conference on "Extraordinary justice between war and postwar - Special tribunals and military tribunals", which took place at the Fondazione Bruno Kessler in Trento, on 11 and 12 December.

  • MELA Polish team have contributed to a new issue of Res Publica Nowa quarterly "Memory and Security" (3/2017). This is a legacy intellectual magazine published since 1979.

    res publica nowa cover

    The special issue has a section devoted to memory laws, with the following articles:

    • Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias - Prawo i pamięć ("Law and Memory")
    • Anna Wójcik - Argument z bezpieczeństwo ("Argument from security")
    • Grażyna Baranowska - Prawo do prawdy ("Right to truth")

    The articles were published in Polish, English language versions will be available soon.

    Res Publica Nowa - Memory Laws (PL version).pdf

  • Two principal MELA researchers Uladzislau Belavusau and Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias have co-edited a volume "Law and Memory: Towards Legal Governance of History", which was published by Cambridge University Press in October 2017. A number of MELA internal and external partner researchers have contributed to this volume. 

    book cover

    In this book, a range of contributors explore both the nature and role of legal engagement into historical memory in selected national, European and international law. They also reflect on potential conflicts between legal governance, political pluralism, and fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression. Against the background of mass re-writing of history in different parts of the world, this book revisits a fascinating subject of memory laws from the standpoint of comparative law and transitional justice.

  • On 13-14 October 2017, Dr Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias and MELA research assistants Marina Ban and Anna Wójcik took part in the workshop "Memory Laws: Legal Regulation of Historical Interpretations" at the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU) in Ljubljana, Slovenia.


    Aleksandra Gliszczynska-Grabias discussed Securing “Historical Truth” by Means of Legislation - Whose Truth? The Cases of Poland, Russia and Ukraine. Marina Ban spoke about the Limits of Genocide Denial Prohibitions: The Case of France and the Armenian Genocide while Anna Wójcik discussed the Eastern Member States of the European Union in the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide Debate.

  • From 19-27 August 2017, MELA PhD researcher Anna Wójcik participated in the International Summer School “Memory and Law: Legal Perspective in Historical Assessments” organised by the The Center for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding.

    summer school logo

  • MELA-researchers Eric Heinze, Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias and Ulad Belavusau held a round-table "Memory Laws: Walls or Bridges? The Legal Regulation of Public Memory". It was chaired by Prof. Dimitry Kochenov (Groningen University) and took place at the Annual Law & Society Association Meeting in Mexico City (20-23 June 2017).

    conference logo


  • On 8-9 June 2017, Ulad Belavusau (MELA-Dutch team) and Anna Wojcik (MELA-Polish team) participated at the conference on Transnational and Global Dimensions of Justice and Memory Processes at the Institut culturel roumain in Paris.

    They presented their accounts on law and memory in Central and Eastern European contexts, with a focus on Hungary and Poland.


  • Dr. Ulad Belavusau presented his account of the latest Ukrainian de-communisation laws during the conference "Post-Conflict Justice in Ukrainein Kyiv on 25-27 May 2017.

  • Between 4 and 6 May 2017, MELA researchers from Poland and the Netherlands participated in the EUSA Fifteenth Biennial Conference in Miami, USA.

    Dr. Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias chaired a panel Different “Legal Memories” in Post Second World War Europe.



    The panel included two presentations by MELA researchers: Dr. Uladzislau Belavusau on The Story of Two Genocides in Strasbourg: Armenian Genocide vs Holocaust? and Dr. Grażyna Baranowska on European Parliament on the Turkish and European Past.

    Two invited guests also presented. Dr. Maria Mälksoo (Brussels School of International Studies, University of Kent) discussed Ukraine’s Decommunization Laws: a hard case for the EU Policy on Transitional Justice? Prof. Antoine Buyse (Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM), Utrecht University) spoke about Memory Moving Forward: The Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights on Freedom of Expression and Information.

  • The Polish MELA team has received a grant from the Polish Ministry of Culture for the translation of the Special Issue of “Res Publica Nowa” that will be devoted to memory laws.

  • On 10 April 2017, Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias held an open lecture for high-school students on fighting nationalism and hate speech and on regulating historical truth with the tools of law in Leszno, Poland.

  • The MELA research consortium held its first annual conference "Law and Memory in Established Democracies" on 25 March 2017 in Bologna, Italy.


    conference programme

    Read the detailed conference report here.

  • On 15 March 2017, Dr. Ulad Belavusau (MELA-Dutch team) presented his account of memory laws and their role in building citizenship at the Queen Mary University of London, at a seminar chaired by the MELA project leader, Prof. Eric Heinze.

    seminar participants

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