In Burundi mechanisms to deal with the violent past are much contested by political parties. It seems that there is no political will for a normative model of transitional justice based on international criminal, humanitarian and human rights law. On the one hand, transitional justice is contested because it touches on fundamental interests of politicians, especially those who have been implicated in past crimes. On the other hand, political parties differently conceptualise basic elements of transitional justice, such as justice, truth and reconciliation. As a political process, transitional justice mechanisms produce certain truths, facts and interpretations about the past and reflect certain norms and values. This paper analyses the different political parties stances on transitional justice, stances influenced by rational choice factors and divergent conceptions of justice, truth and reconciliation. Moreover, it shows how they use the normative concept of transitional justice as an instrument for political struggle.
The Quest for Transitional Justice in Afghanistan: Exploring the Untapped Potential of Customary Justice
Based upon an analysis of the peace process in Afghanistan since 2011, the article argues that past top-down approaches have failed to achieve the twin goals of peace and justice. Thus, customary justice and its associated structures offers an alternative approach to furthering reconciliation and addressing grievances, as well as to ensuring accountability for wrongs committed at the community level. Drawing from the work of The Liaison Office, the article highlights the advantages of customary justice institutions, but also cautions that their limitations (e.g., discrimination against women, an inability to reign in strongmen and address inter-ethnic conflicts) need to be addressed. The article concludes with the recommendation to establish a best practice association that can set standards for customary justice providers and guarantee the inclusion of women.
Practising Justice in Argentina: Social Condemnation, Legal Punishment, and the Local Articulations of Genocide
The article analyses contemporary practices of transitional justice in the aftermath of Argentinas last military dictatorship and offers insights into the local articulations of international legal conventions. Focussing on the concept of genocide, the author presents two examples of her ongoing research. The first explores the non-institutional, symbolic jurisdiction entitled Escrache, a collective practice developed by H.I.J.O.S. to ostracize amnestied genocidas (perpetrators of genocide) in their own neighbourhoods. The second example presents the national trials reopened in 2005. Two recent judgements in which perpetrators were convicted for crimes committed in the frame of genocide illustrate the innovative application and effective localization of cosmopolitan law. Taken together, the article examines the way in which social agents address the legacy of past violence and contribute to the symbolic inventory of collective memory and juridical practices.
Colombia offers a valuable contribution to transitional justice research due to its attempt to implement post-conflict-instruments in the middle of an ongoing armed conflict. Ideally, these instruments would be able to become tools for peace and reconciliation. The author introduces the concept of political reconciliation in order to test its impact in this regard. The implementation of the concept in the case of Colombia shows that the state has made small steps in the direction of reconciliation, but that its legitimacy is still not established. The demobilization of the paramilitary units turned out to be non-transparent and ineffective, and its legal framework did not address the needs of the victims. However, the current victims law offers interesting perspectives with regard to the necessary structural transformations. It still remains to be seen however, whether it will turn out to be more than another good law on paper.