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Transitional Justice

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


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


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

"Subjects of Change": Feminist Geopolitics and Gendered Truth-Telling in Guatemala


Patterson-Markowitz, Rebecca, Elizabeth Oglesby, and Sallie Marston. 2012. “‘ Subjects of Change’: Feminist Geopolitics and Gendered Truth-Telling in Guatemala.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 13 (4): 82.

Authors: Rebecca Patterson-Markowitz, Elizabeth Oglesby, Sallie Marston


This paper explores the often-undervalued role of gender in transitional justice mechanisms and the importance of women's struggles and agency in that regard. We focus on the efforts of the women's movement in Guatemala to address questions of justice and healing for survivors of gendered violence during Guatemala's 36-year internal armed conflict. We discuss how the initial transitional justice measures of documenting gendered war crimes in the context of a genocide were subsequently taken up by the women's movement and how their endeavors to further expose sexual violence have resulted in notable interventions. Interviews with key organizational activists as well as testimonies given by victims of sexual violence during the conflict suggest that transitional justice mechanisms, extended by women's movements' efforts, are creating conditions for the emergence of new practices and spaces that support the fragile cultivation of new subjectivities. Sujetas de cambio (subjects of change) are premised not on victimhood but survivorhood. The emergence of these new subjectivities and new claims, including greater personal security and freedom from everyday violence, must be approached with caution, however, as they are not born automatically out of the deeply emotional struggles that play out around historical memory. Still, their emergence suggests new ways for women to cope not only with the sexual violence of the past but also to work against the normative violence that is part of their present.

Keywords: gendered violence, historical memory, transitional justice

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Genocide, Justice, Transitional Justice, Rights, Human Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Guatemala

Year: 2012

Gender in Transitional Justice


Buckley-Zistel, Susanne, and Ruth Stanley, eds. 2011. Gender in Transitional Justice. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Authors: Susanne Buckley-Zistel, Ruth Stanley


"'Based on original empirical research, this book explores retributive and gender justice, the potentials and limits of agency, and the correlation of transitional justice and social change through case studies of current dynamics in post-violence countries such Rwanda, South Africa, Cambodia, East Timor, Columbia, Chile and Germany.'--Publisher's website" (WorldCat).


Table of Contents:

Introduction: gender in transitional justice / S. Buckley-Zistel & M. Zolkos  

Retributive justice and gender justice. The role of the ICC in transitional gender justice: capacity and limitations / L. Chappell

Gendered under-enforcement in the transitional justice context / F.D. Ní Aoláin

Neglected crimes: the challenge of raising sexual and gender-based crimes before the extraordinary chambers in the courts of Cambodia / S. Studzinsky

Transitional justice and social change. Continuities of violence against women in South Africa: the limitations of transitional justice / R. Sigsworth & N. Valji

Transitioning to what? transitional justice and gendered citizenship in Chile and Colombia / C.O'Rourke

Potentials and limits of agency. Asserting their presence! women's quest for transitional justice in post-genocide Rwanda / R. Mageza-Barthel

How sexuality changes agency: gay men, Jews, and transitional justice A.von Wahl  

Politics of justice and reconciliation. Gender-inclusivity in transitional justice strategies: women in Timor-Leste / E. Porter

Frau Mata Hari on trial: seduction, espionage and gendered abjection in reunifying Germany / M. Zolkos

Transitions to justice / N. Dhawan.

Topics: Gender Analysis, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Human Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2011

Women at the Margins of International Law: Reconceptualizing Dominant Discourses on Gender and Transitional Justice


Vijeyarasa, Ramona. 2013. “Women at the Margins of International Law: Reconceptualizing Dominant Discourses on Gender and Transitional Justice.” The International Journal of Transitional Justice 7 (2): 358–69.

Author: Ramona Vijeyarasa

Topics: Women, Gender Analysis, International Law, Transitional Justice

Year: 2013

Who are you for? Women, Children and Hierarchies of Power


Stovel, Laura, "Who are you for? Women, Children and Hierarchies of Power" In Long Road Home: Building Reconciliation and Trust in Post-War Sierra Leone, (Portland: Intersentia, 2010).

Author: Laura Stovel

Topics: Gender, Women, Transitional Justice, TRCs, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2010

The Gender of Reparations: Unsettling Sexual Hierarchies While Redressing Human Rights Violations


Rubio-Marín, Ruth, ed. 2009. The Gender of Reparations: Unsettling Sexual Hierarchies While Redressing Human Rights Violations. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Author: Ruth Rubio-Marín


"'Reparations programs seeking to provide for victims of gross and systematic human rights violations are becoming an increasingly frequent feature of transitional and post-conflict processes. Given that women represent a very large proportion of the victims of these conflicts and the authoritarianism generating them, and that women arguably experience conflicts in a distinct manner, it makes sense to examine whether reparations programs can be designed to redress women more fairly and efficiently and seek to subvert gender hierarchies that often antecede the conflict." "Focusing on themes such as reparations for victims of sexual and reproductive violence, reparations for children and other family members, as well as gendered understandings of monetary, symbolic, and collective reparations, The Gender of Reparations gathers information about how past or existing reparations projects dealt with gender issues, identifies best practices to the extent possible, and articulates innovative approaches and guidelines to the integration of a gender perspective in the design and implementation of reparations for victims of human rights violations.'--Jacket" (WorldCat).


Table of Contents:

1. Gender and violence in focus : a background for gender justice in reparations / Margaret Urban Walker --

2. The gender of reparations in transitional societies / Ruth Rubio-Marín --

3. Reparation of sexual and reproductive violence : moving from codification to implementation / Colleen Duggan and Ruth Jacobson --

4. Reparations as a means for recognizing and addressing crimes and grave rights violations against girls and boys during situations of armed conflict and under authoritarian and dictatorial regimes / Dyan Mazurana and Khristopher Carlson --

5. Repairing family members : gross human rights violations and communities of harm / Ruth Rubio-Marín, Clara Sandoval, and Catalina Díaz --

6. Tort theory, microfinance, and gender equity convergent in pecuniary reparations / Anita Bernstein --

7. Gender, memorialization, and symbolic reparations / Brandon Hamber and Ingrid Palmary --

8. Gender and collective reparations in the aftermath of conflict and political repression / Ruth Rubio-Marín

Topics: Women, Gender Analysis, Reparations, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Human Rights, Sexual Violence

Year: 2009

Traditional justice and legal pluralism in transitional context: The case of Rwanda's Gacaca Courts


Nagy, Rosemary, "Traditional justice and legal pluralism in transitional context: The case of Rwanda's Gacaca Courts," in Reconciliation(s): Transitional Justice in Postconflict Societies, ed. Joanna R. Quinn (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2009).

Author: Rosemary Nagy

Topics: Gender, Women, Justice, Impunity, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2009

These Spaces in Between: The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and Its Role in Transitional Justice


Sajjad, Tazreena. 2009. “These Spaces in Between: The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and Its Role in Transitional Justice.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 3 (3): 424–44. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijp020.

Author: Tazreena Sajjad


National human rights institutions (NHRIs) play an instrumental role in defining the human rights culture of their respective countries through their monitoring function, auditing laws, instituting human rights education and making recommendations to governments to improve human rights conditions. In countries that have experienced large-scale human rights atrocities, NHRI mandates sometimes include working to establish processes to seek accountability for war crimes. The involvement in transitional justice matters raises a new set of challenges for these institutions regarding their independence, their role in creating space for local voices and their capacity to serve as a bridge between the government and national and international actors. Using as a case study the experience of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), the author identifies several key areas within which this particular NHRI has had to negotiate the tensions between the political and the legal, and the local and the international. A close examination of each of these areas reveals the common challenges NHRIs face in taking on a transitional justice mandate, as well as the particular strengths and limitations of the AIHRC and its creativity and resolve in working in extremely difficult circumstances to seek accountability for the past.

Topics: Impunity, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2009

Missionary Zeal for a Secular Mission: Bringing Gender to Transitional Justice and Redemption to Feminism


Nesiah, Vasuki. 2011. "Missionary Zeal for a Secular Mission: Bringing Gender to Transitional Justice and redemption to Feminism." In Feminist Perspectives on Contemporary International Law: Between Resistance and Compliance, ed. Sari Kouvo and Zoe Pearson, 137-159. Portland, Or: Hart. 

Author: Vasuki Nesiah

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Justice, Transitional Justice, Religion

Year: 2011

Invigorating Democracy in Turkey: The Agency of Organized Islamist Women


Aksoy, Hürcan Aslı. 2015. “Invigorating Democracy in Turkey: The Agency of Organized Islamist Women.” Politics & Gender 11 (01): 146–70. doi:10.1017/S1743923X1500001X.

Author: Hürcan Aslı Aksoy


The Islamist Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, henceforth AKP) came to power in 2002 with the promise of consolidating democracy and strengthening civil society to further Turkey's bid to join the European Union (EU). To this end, in its first term in the parliament (2002–2007), the AKP implemented a set of political reforms that lifted the restrictions on political and civil rights such as the freedom of assembly, associations, and expression and improved the rule of law (Kubicek 2005; Müftüler-Baç 2005). The AKP, as it has promised in its election campaigns, also engaged civil society into policy-making processes. In the initial years of the AKP, diverse civil society actors gathered on broad civil society platforms and worked with the AKP government to consolidate Turkish democracy (Keyman 2010; Kubicek 2005). Although the Islamist segments of civil society began to integrate into the secular political sphere and to voice their demands more freely, Islamist women's civil society organizations (CSOs) have not fully benefited from this transforming political atmosphere under the AKP.

Topics: Civil Society, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Transitional Justice, Political Participation Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Turkey

Year: 2015


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