The term ‘transitional justice’ describes efforts to allow societies to come to terms with past violence so that some level of justice and reconciliation can be achieved. This infographic shows the diversity of forms of transitional justice and the complex relationship to inclusion and political stability.
Transitional justice refers to the range of mechanisms used to address legacies of human rights violations and violence in countries recovering from conflict or transitioning from repressive regimes.
The United Nations defines Transitional Justice as:
The full range of processes and mechanisms associated with a society’s attempt to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses, in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation.
Transitional justice measures aim to provide:
accountability for perpetrators in the conflict
social understanding of the conflict
agendas for institutional reform
reparation for victims and their families
In peace processes there can be tension between bringing combatants into a more inclusive political settlement, and holding them accountable for human rights abuses.
Only 6% of peace agreements providing mechanisms to address that past contain commitments toward judicial accountability.
However, other forms of non-judicial accountability are often provided for, such as truth commissions. Often apparently opposed transitional justice mechanisms are provided together in the one peace agreement.
Stability - accountability combinations
Percentage of peace agreements with one of the three types of provision
Parties negotiating peace agreements often try to find ways to balance a measure of accountability with a measure of stability based on inclusion of military and political leaders.
Balancing techniques include:
building conditions into amnesties which require ‘truth telling’
limiting amnesties to particular crimes
having forms of trial which incorporate or are supplemented by restorative justice approaches
providing measures such as reparations for victims, alongside forms of levels of amnesty
See publications at: www.politicalsettlements.org/publications-database
In particular: Jamar, A., & Bell, C. (2018). Transitional Justice and Peace Negotiations with a Gender Lens (Gender Briefing Series). New York City: UN Women.
Jamar, (2019) Transitional Justice and Peace Agreements Navigating Trade-Offs between Stability and Accountability, PA-X Report Transitional Justice Series, Political Settlement Research Programme.
Jamar, A. (2018). Victims’ Inclusion and Transitional Justice: Attending to the Exclusivity of Inclusion Politics (PSRP Research Report). Edinburgh: Global Justice Academy, University of Edinburgh.