Restorative Justice in Transitions and Beyond: The Justice Potential of Truth Telling Mechanisms for Post-Peace Accord Societies

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Restorative justice, transitional justice, the potential of truth commissions, justice in transitional contexts


Through their use of the idea of restorative justice, these transitional justice scholars have gone some way toward recognizing the potential of truth commissions to serve the interests of justice in transitional contexts. The framework of transitional justice, however, has led them to misunderstand and unduly limit restorative justice and, in so doing, to under appreciate the true potential and importance of truth commission for post-peace accord societies. This chapter examines the concept of restorative justice as it is used in transitional justice and suggests that the rubric of transitional justice has obscured our understanding and appreciation of the contributions of truth-telling mechanisms can make to justice in post-peace accord societies during their transitions and beyond. Finally, it offers an overview of the theory of restorative justice in an effort to clarify misunderstandings and create a basis from which to rethink the importance of truth-telling mechanisms in terms of justice for transitional periods and for post-transition societies. It concludes that the importance and significance of restorative justice–based truth-telling mechanisms has been unduly limited by the rubric of transitional justice. Truth-telling mechanisms as institutions of restorative justice are also important for what they can teach us about pursuing justice in new, post-transition societies. Thus, the lens of transitional justice distorts one’s view of the importance of truth-telling mechanism both in terms of ensuring a peaceful and successful transition and in modeling justice for the future society. (excerpt)


From the selected works of Jennifer Llewellyn.