Transitional justice

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 reform.

This Topic Guide provides an overview of the field of transitional justice. It outlines key transitional justice mechanisms and looks at factors crucial to the design of strategies, processes and mechanisms: local context and ownership; participation and inclusive processes; outreach; timing and sequencing; and coordination with other sectors. It also discusses the following key themes:

  • the impact of transitional justice;
  • socioeconomic rights and development;
  • reconciliation;
  • art and transitional justice;
  • gender and youth; and
  • diaspora, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

About this Topic Guide

This Topic Guide was written by Huma Haider (GSDRC, University of Birmingham) and published in August 2016. Its production was supported by the UK Government.

GSDRC Topic Guides aim to provide a clear, concise and objective report on findings from rigorous research on critical areas of development policy. Rather than provide policy guidance or recommendations, their purpose is to inform policymakers and practitioners of the key debates and evidence on the topic of focus, to support informed decision-making.

Suggested citation

Haider, H. (2016). Transitional justice: Topic guide. Birmingham, UK: GSDRC, University of Birmingham.