Read On! Special Issue of International Journal of Transitional Justice

The Current IssueThe latest issue of the International Journal of Transitional Justice (IJTJ) considers the links between transitional justice and international criminal justice.  From my introductory editorial:

This special issue considers the key, and often fraught, relationship between transitional justice (TJ) and ICJ. It’s not just that ‘The Hague’ now holds a key position at the center of discussions around how to deal with international crimes like genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes, it’s also that this centrality, which has privileged the creation of an international institutional machinery, has affected other forms of justice. Depending on who’s talking, the effect has been to take over, make more effective, coexist with or render opaque these other forms. We explore these multiple views, and what the consequences are in particular places and for particular groups.

One way to conceive of both fields is as a series of antimonies. These antimonies or oppositions, not susceptible to final resolution, oscillate like a series of pendulum swings, each movement causing a critique and countermovement that affects both TJ and ICJ. It’s not a question of ‘peace versus justice’ but of a deeper level of fundamental questions. As questions of law, these antimonies recall Martti Koskenniemi’s description of international law as an indeterminate set of movements bouncing from moralist utopia to realpolitik apology.  Something similar happens here: the emphasis shifts, the pendulum swings back, the search for a middle ground continues, but the fundamental logic is binary, the critique of each movement endlessly producing its opposite. Thus, there is no possibility of final resolution of the tensions – or synergies – of the two fields.  The articles in this issue speak to the various points on this pendulum swing.

The journal contains a range of methodological and disciplinary viewpoints, ranging from theoretical discussions of the relationship between transitional and international criminal justice and of deterrence, to explorations of how the institutions of international justice, especially the ICC, have affected discourses and practices on the ground, including in the Bemba case, in Lebanon, and with respect to the participation of victims at the ICC.  Of particular interest to intlawgrrls might be Louise Chappell’s exploration of the operation of complementarity through the lens of gender. She considers the ICC’s preliminary investigations process, focusing on crimes of sexual violence against women in Colombia and Guinea.

Happy reading!

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