Grudge Informers and Beyond: On Accountability for Collaborators with Repressive Regimes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter takes up the question of whether, why, and how to hold informers accountable after the fall of a repressive regime. The starting point is the Hart–Fuller philosophical debate in jurisprudence. In their debate over how to justify punishment of Nazi-era grudge informers, Hart and Fuller take up core dilemmas surrounding accountability for acts that were sanctioned by law at the time they occurred with which transitional justice scholars continue to grapple. Importantly for this chapter’s purposes, the Hart–Fuller debate concentrated on accountability not for the worst perpetrators of human rights violations, but rather for individuals who took advantage of a repressive system to rid themselves of personal enemies. As transitional justice scholars increasingly emphasise, accountability for large-scale wrongdoing should not be restricted to perpetrators. Yet, since the Hart–Fuller debate, little has been written about accountability for collaborators specifically, which is why any discussion of the moral point of holding collaborators to account inevitably must begin with that debate. Despite their prescient focus on informers and recognition of dilemmas associated with the pursuit of accountability for them, Murphy argues that Hart and Fuller’s discussion is too narrow.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCollaboration in Authoritarian and Armed Conflict Settings
EditorsJuan Espíndola, Leigh A. Payne
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic) 9780191986741
ISBN (Print)9780197267059
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the British Academy
ISSN (Print)0068-1202


  • Hart–Fuller debate
  • Luz Arce
  • transitional justice
  • grudge informer,


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