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Beyond justice versus peace: transitional justice and peacebuilding strategies

Beyond justice versus peace: transitional justice and peacebuilding strategies

Herman, Johanna, Martin-Ortega, Olga ORCID: 0000-0002-1779-0120 and Sriam, Chandra (2012) Beyond justice versus peace: transitional justice and peacebuilding strategies. In: Aggestam, Karin and Björkdahl, Annika, (eds.) Rethinking Peacebuilding. The Quest for Just Peace in the Middle East and the Western Balkans. Routledge, Oxon, UK. ISBN 978-0203106884 (doi:

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This chapter examines one of the dilemmas in building a just and durable peace: the challenging and complex relationship between transitional justice and peacebuilding in countries emerging from conflict, where demands for order, retribution and restoration are juggled simultaneously.1 Some scholars, and indeed some policymakers, continue to view “peace” and “justice” as simply in conflict with each other, while their relationship in practice is far more complex (see Sriram 2004). We examine the nuances of the relationship through considering the interaction between tools and mechanisms for addressing past human rights violations seeking to promote justice, and tools and mechanisms designed to promote durable peace. We seek to do so by examining contemporary practice rather than arguing abstractly; we seek to analyse and identify the limitations in practice undertaken by the European Union, United Nations, bilateral donors, states themselves, and nongovernmental organizations. While there is a great deal of academic research as well as policy-oriented work on both transitional justice and peacebuilding, as yet there is relatively little scholarly work that seeks to speak to policymakers as well, identifying the strengths and limitations of justice approaches in peacebuilding processes. Further, what scholarship there is that seeks to bridge this divide reaches somewhat contradictory findings (Vinjamuri and Boesenecker 2007; Thoms et al. 2008) and often does not examine the programming and processes in detail on the ground, but rather in an aggregate, quantitative fashion. This chapter provides a foundation for further research on how programming and practitioners of each might engage more constructively in practice with one another in pursuit of more just and durable peace. We use a comparative methodology in order to understand the interplay between

transitional justice and peacebuilding processes. Both fields have diverse tools and mechanisms that can be used and adapted to specific contexts depending on the country situation. For this reason, cross-country comparison provides a better understanding of the dynamic relationship between the two in practice, and a basis for analysis of how they could complement each other. This chapter therefore uses examples from a number of countries, including but not limited to countries in the Middle East and Western Balkans. We seek to develop an operational

approach to justice in peacebuilding, considering not whether justice and peace contribute to one another, but rather how they might be better designed to do so (see e.g. Human Rights Watch 2009; Hayner 2010; Mendez 2010). Despite the obvious intersection between the strategies of transitional justice

and peacebuilding, work on this subject has developed only recently (Lambourne 2009: 28-48; see also Stromseth et al. 2006: 249-53; Van Zyl 2005: 212; United Nations General Assembly 2008). We identify a starting point for the formulation of strategies for peacebuilding

and transitional justice that might help to elide the supposed peace-justice divide, acknowledging however that new tensions may emerge. Strategies would involve refinement of transitional justice practice (including and beyond accountability mechanisms), with peacebuilding tools such as rule-of-law promotion, and with the tools designed to promote security and stability: disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants (DDR), and security sector reform (SSR). Before we consider the interaction of these mechanisms, we turn briefly to the scholarly and policy debate that traditionally has framed understandings of the relationship between transitional justice and peacebuilding.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: peace, justice, post-conflict reconstruction, Balkans, Middle East
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Business, Human Rights and the Environment Research Group (BHRE)
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Law & Criminology (LAC)
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Last Modified: 28 Jun 2021 08:07

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