Transitional justice paradigms and praxis: Lessons from Bosnia, DRC and Colombia: Roundtable Discussion
Over the past two decades, we have witnessed an unprecedented emphasis on the question of criminal accountability for conflict related atrocities in negotiated peace settlements. Increasingly, transitional justice has become understood as an essential component of any political transition and idealised as the magical cure for the society’s ills.
However, the international haste for delivering justice to societies that have experienced conflicts has typically led to a “flat pack” approach to transitional justice that has failed to deliver on its grand promise of justice. International norms and practices of transitional justice often have little relevance to local communities, and can instead lead to the deepening of existing divisions and the creation of new structures of injustices. While the question of delivering justice to survivors of atrocities in principle and theory remains significant, it is important to stand back and reflect on local practices and perceptions of justice and how these can best be delivered. It is important to look beyond the legal tool box for responses that best fulfil the desire for and understanding of justice for survivors.
This Roundtable draws on extensive fieldwork research with survivors of sexual and gender based violence and displacement in Bosnia, the DRC and Colombia to discuss the lessons that can be learned from comparing the international norms of transitional justice with their implementation in different local contexts.
Leading this discussion will be:
Sahla Aroussi a feminist researcher at the Centre of Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University. Sahla has a background in international human rights law, international politics and transitional justice. Her main area of expertise is gender in armed conflicts and post-conflict transition focusing particularly on the UN women, peace and security’s agenda, sexual and gender based violence, transitional justice, peace-making, women’s participation and gender empowerment.
Michaelina Jakala is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University. She was awarded a PhD in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford. Her thesis explored post-war lived experiences of female survivors of wartime sexual violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dr Jakala currently teaches on the MA in Peace and Conflict Studies. Her current research interests focus on the lived experiences of transitional justice and peacebuilding.
Sanne Weber is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations of Coventry University. Her main research interest is how conflict affects gender relations, and whether and how transitional justice mechanisms are capable of transforming gender inequality. Hereby, she hopes to contribute to increasing our understanding of how transitional justice and other peace and reconciliation mechanisms can better respond to the needs of conflict survivors and contribute to the transformation of the structural inequalities that underlie many conflicts.
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