Transitional justice

Transitional justice

Participants end a mass ‘Blanket Exercise’ on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill in June 2015, which was organised by the Assembly of Seven Generations as part of the closing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Image: Adrian Gregorich/The Sentinel Project).

It is increasingly recognised that legacies of mass violence and human rights violations can, if left unaddressed, fuel future conflicts. Transitional justice seeks to tackle the legacies of large-scale past abuses, and includes mechanisms such as truth-telling initiatives, criminal prosecutions, reparations processes, cultural interventions, vetting and institutional ...» more

The contribution of art and culture in peace and reconciliation processes in Asia

Ereshnee Naidu-Silverman

How can art and culture contribute to peace and reconciliation processes in post-conflict societies? Through a series of case studies this CKU occasional paper highlights how art methodologies can provide the non-didactic, participatory tools necessary for building relations between groups and contributing to long-term peacebuilding processes. It recommends long-term investment ...» more

Inclusive transitions framework

Seth Kaplan & Mark Freeman

Transitions are the critical moments where fragile states can transform their social and political dynamics by pursuing more inclusive and cohesive practices. This publication argues that an inclusive approach offers the only realistic way to transform the relationships, institutions and dynamics that have troubled these countries. It draws on past experiences of ...» more

After rape: comparing civilian and combatant perpetrated crime in northern Uganda

Holly E. Porter

How does the sequence of violence that women experience, before, during and after war relate to transitional justice approaches? This article compares rapes by combatants compared with rapes by civilians, both of which follow abductions intended to result in “marriage.” It calls attention to typically unacknowledged commonalities between the two forms of abduction and ...» more

Responding to mass atrocities and human rights abuses

Mass atrocities are generally understood as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, but many other human rights abuses are committed in conflict-affected contexts. There are a range of responses to these abuses, particularly by national and international actors, constituting international criminal justice and transitional justice. Development actors are increasingly directly involved in managing conflict or…» more

Refugee, IDP and host community radicalisation

Socioeconomic conditions: In some circumstances, poor socioeconomic conditions (e.g. impoverishment, unemployment, lack of access to services and infrastructure, overcrowded living conditions) may make it more likely for refugees/IDPs to become radicalised. However, Lischer (2005) finds instead that there is generally little evidence to support the connection between particular ...» more

“We need a culture of truth”: the role of civil society organisations in transitional justice

Ouko Eunice, Cory Kuklick

The Refugee Law Project recently held a workshop with a number of civil society organisations (CSOs) and key stakeholders to discuss transitional justice and national reconciliation in Uganda. This report sheds light on the discussions held in that event. Many of the CSOs committed to working together in the future and acknowledged the power of numbers in regards to regional ...» more


Conflict is inherent in all societies and arises when two or more groups believe their interests are incompatible. ‘Conflict’ is not, however, interchangeable with ‘violence’. Non-violent resolution is possible when individuals and groups have trust in their governing structures, society and institutions to manage incompatible interests. Conflict becomes a problem when this ...» more

Transitional Justice and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights


The failure to realize economic, social and cultural rights as well as violations of these rights can be—and usually are—part of the root causes of conflict. Furthermore, the actions and omissions by States and non-state actors during conflict can also amount to violations of economic, social and cultural rights, and often have a particular impact on the most vulnerable. Yet, ...» more

Transnational Transitional Justice and Reconciliation: The Participation of Conflict-generated Diasporas in Addressing the Legacies of Mass Violence

Huma Haider

Diaspora communities often develop as a consequence of forced migration. The term ‘conflict-generated diaspora’ has been used to refer to those who fled as refugees. There has been limited consideration of the involvement of conflict-generated diasporas in transitional justice and reconciliation processes that seek to address the legacies of conflict. This article aims to ...» more

Documentation and Transitional Justice in Afghanistan

Patricia A. Gossman

In Afghanistan, the social upheaval resulting from thirty-five years of war has created widely differing narratives of the conflict: communities and political factions have reconstructed events through the lens of their experiences. Extensive dislocation of large segments of the population and poor communication throughout the war years meant that Afghans often had no way of ...» more

Transitional justice lessons for Syria

Literature on transitional justice (TJ) experiences in the Arab world is limited, but there is some emerging analysis. This report found the literature highlights factors common in the region that have implications for TJ processes. These include: weak state legitimacy and capacity; decades of authoritarian rule and deep societal divisions; deep-seated socio-economic ...» more

Post-Conflict Traditional Justice: A Critical Overview

Tim Allen, Anna Macdonald

This paper examines the debates surrounding recent attempts to introduce local accountability mechanisms into structures of transitional justice in politically fragile and post-conflict situations. It notes that we still know remarkably little about the role and impact of informal justice processes in post-conflict situations. Better assessment and monitoring are required. ...» more

Progress of the World’s Women 2011-2012: In Pursuit of Justice

UN Women

This report demonstrates that where laws and justice systems work well, they can provide an essential mechanism for women to realise their human rights. However, it also underscores the fact that, despite widespread guarantees of equality, the reality for many millions of women is that justice remains out of reach. The report highlights the practical barriers that women face ...» more

Introduction: Gender in Transitional Justice

Susanne Buckley-Zistel, Magdalena Zolkos

Literature on gender in transitional justice (TJ) has tended to focus on women as victims of sexualised violence. But this study aims to contribute to more nuanced and inclusive analysis. Gender cannot be seen simply as a descriptive category of victims. The roles of men and women in the context of TJ are multifaceted and interrelated. Incorporating gender into analysis of TJ ...» more

The ICC and Community-Level Reconciliation: In-country Perspectives

Tim Murithi, Allan Ngari (eds)

What impact do International Criminal Court (ICC) interventions have on community-level reconciliation processes? How can the capacity of African organisations be enhanced to promote community-level reconciliation? These were among the questions addressed by this regional consultation involving seven African countries. The ICC is a court of last resort and ideally national ...» more

Transitional Justice and Reconciliation: Theory and Practice

Martina Fischer

Transitional justice is prominent in academic debates on democratisation, nation-building and state reconstruction, and has gained widespread support from international organisations. This chapter examines these debates and their practical relevance for conflict transformation and peacebuilding. It argues that not enough research has been done into the impact of transitional ...» more

Interactions in Transition: How Truth Commissions and Trials Complement or Constrain Each Other

Alexander Dukalskis

How do truth commissions and human rights trials interact to facilitate or constrain transitional justice efforts? How might these interactions be affected by different sequencing choices and by legacies of violence and its termination? This article outlines a theoretical framework, and suggests that holding simultaneous truth commissions and trials could offer the advantages ...» more