Looking Forward, Looking Back: The Role of Transitional Justice in the Prevention of Violence and the Establishment of Peace
Section at the General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), 22-25 August 2018, Hamburg
Call for Panels & Papers:
One of the logics of transitional justice advocacy and practice is that a reckoning with a past of large scale human rights violations will contribute to a future of peace. Scholars have grappled with the question of impact and more recently that of prevention. There is an inherent tension in the expectations generated by a primarily backward looking set of interventions, designed to address past violations. This tension arises because of a set of assumptions, expectations and claims that such activities will be able to contribute to social and political changes and lead to peace. Indeed, much of the ‘industry’ of transitional justice, which includes budgets and a flow of resources, requires this logic to hold.
Scholarly engagement with the intersection between transitional justice and conflict prevention is certainly increasing. However, we still know very little about causal relationships between the two, or about how interventions could be designed to take account of the potential synergies. These gaps and challenges relate to debates over whether punishment can have a preventative effect, whether peace and justice goals are compatible, and whether short-term transitional justice interventions are being overloaded with expectations over longer-term change. It is clear from the literature that in theory transitional justice and conflict prevention are connected, and that transitional justice could contribute to conflict prevention. Where the literature is now moving is towards case studies and an evidence base which can tell us more about what this means in practice and how policy-making can respond.
In the Panels which form this Section we will look afresh at the question of the forward looking capacities of transitional justice; at what claims can be made about its impacts, theories of change underpinning the transitional justice discourse, and its potential to prevent violations and establish a peaceful future. Panels will examine the contribution of transitional justice mechanisms to the prevention of gross violations and abuses of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law, including genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, and their recurrence. Among these mechanisms, Panels will explore the contribution of tribunals (international, national or mixed) and truth commissions to prevent violations.
But beyond tribunals and truth commissions, the Section also seeks Panels and Papers that research the contribution of guarantees of non-recurrence (GNR). GNR are, primarily, forward-looking interventions with the potential of contributing to prevent future violations. The Special Rapporteur (SR) on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence has classified GNR as interventions at the level of official State institutions (such as security sector reform, legal, judicial or constitutional reform); interventions to strengthen civil society in order to increase its preventive role; and interventions in the cultural and individual spheres (such as the preventive role of education, arts and other cultural interventions, including memorialization and museums, and investments in archives and documentation reforms).
We invite contributions addressing themes which may include but are certainly not limited to:
– The linkages and intersections between transitional justice and prevention of violations.
– Transitional justice as peacebuilding.
– The impact of transitional justice on cultures of peace or violence.
– The assumptions and interventions underpinning the guarantee of non-recurrence.
– Theories of change and transitional justice.
– Transitional justice in contexts of ongoing human rights violations.
Deadline for applications is February 15, 2018.
For the complete call and to propose a panel or paper, please click here.
ECPR Standing Group on Human Rights and Transitional Justice – Steering Committee