Transitional Justice and Civil Society: A Research Agenda

The past two decades have been marked by the proliferation of novel instruments of international justice and transitional justice. In conflict-affected states, justice and accountability for serious human rights abuses are often seen as preconditions for establishing legitimate governance and human security. And yet, transitional justice tends to be discussed and pursued in a top-down manner at a significant distance from affected individuals and communities. In thinking about what form justice should take and what its goals and effects may be, there is a tendency to focus on the state or the role of international actors. This research stream of ‘Security in Transition’ is premised on the insight that the impact of international and transitional justice instruments in conflict-affected states depends to a large extent on the interactions of civil society with these processes and mechanisms. It examines how civil society actors use, adapt, develop, and contest the emerging justice norms and structures, and what are the implications for the ‘security gap’.


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