Peace and Justice through a Feminist Lens: Gender Justice and the Women’s Court for the Former Yugoslavia

Citation:

O’Reilly, Maria. “Peace and Justice through a Feminist Lens: Gender Justice and the Women’s Court for the Former Yugoslavia.” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 10, no. 3 (July 2, 2016): 419–445.

Author: Maria O'Reilly

Abstract:

Post-conflict interventions to ‘deal with’ violent pasts have moved from exception to global norm. Early efforts to achieve peace and justice were critiqued as ‘gender-blind’—for failing to address sexual and gender-based violence, and neglecting the gender-specific interests and needs of women in transitional settings. The advent of UN Security Council resolutions on ‘Women, Peace and Security’ provided a key policy framework for integrating both women and gender issues into transitional justice processes and mechanisms. Despite this, gender justice and equality in (post-)conflict settings remain largely unachieved. This article explores efforts to attain gender-just peace in post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). It critically examines the significance of a recent ‘bottom-up’ truth-telling project—the Women’s Court for the former Yugoslavia—as a locally engaged approach to achieving justice and redress for women impacted by armed conflict. Drawing on participant observation, documentary analysis, and interviews with women activists, the article evaluates the successes and shortcomings of responding to gendered forms of wartime violence through truth-telling. Extending Nancy Fraser’s tripartite model of justice to peacebuilding contexts, the article advances notions of recognition, redistribution and representation as crucial components of gender-just peace. It argues that recognizing women as victims and survivors of conflict, achieving a gender-equitable distribution of material and symbolic resources, and enabling women to participate as agents of transitional justice processes are all essential for transforming the structural inequalities that enable gender violence and discrimination to materialize before, during, and after conflict. (Abstract from original)

Keywords: feminism, gender justice, international, local, Nancy Fraser, UNSCR 1325

Topics: Justice, Transitional Justice, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2016

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