Transitional Justice in Law, History and Anthropology

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    It has become almost axiomatic to suggest that societies emerging from protracted periods of conflict need to find ways to ‘come to terms with’ past human rights abuses. In recent decades, a set of mechanisms and tools known as 'transitional justice' has been developed with the goal of assisting states to confront the wrongdoings of repressive predecessor regimes. These mechanisms seek to ascribe individual criminal responsibility for past acts, enact punishment, provide opportunities for truth-telling, produce historical records of conflict and deliver reparations to victims. At its core, transitional justice works discursively to establish a break between the violent past and a peaceful, democratic future, and is based upon compelling frameworks of resolution, rupture and transition. Over the past two decades, transitional justice, both a field of interdisciplinary scholarship and as practice, has seen an extraordinary rise. There has been a proliferation of war crimes courts and tribunals around the globe and a growing number of truth commissions. Transitional justice is now firmly entrenched as part of peacebuilding interventions that seek to promote stability, liberal democracy and a market economy in post-conflict societies, and has become ‘an article of faith as a catalyst for reclaiming societies in political and social imbalance and dysfunction’.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-11pp
    JournalThe Australian Feminist Law Journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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