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Transitional Justice

Widows and Community Based Transitional Justice in Post Genocide Rwanda


Tobin, Angela. 2012. "Widows and Community Based Transitional Justice in Post Genocide Rwanda." British Journal of Community Justice 10 (1): 27-39.

Author: Angela Tobin


After decades of cycles of violence between Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda, 1994 witnessed genocide more effective than Hitler's gas chambers (Carlsson, 2005) costing the lives of estimates between 500,000 (Desforges, 1999) to one million people (Gourevitch, 1998). The way communities and families killed neighbours and relatives has been documented by many. In light of the localised nature of this conflict, this contribution suggests that the community should be involved in the delivery of justice as part of an effort to repair the social bonds that were damaged. This article will focus on women's relationship to transitional justice in the aftermath of the conflict. The role of community-based organisations and the support they provided to widows of the conflict will be considered. Widows have been selected as the focal point as they represent a distinctive group: they must contend with gender-specific challenges in the wake of their loss and adapt to become responsible for tasks which they previously depended on male relatives to complete. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and Gacaca, the formal judicial and quasi judicial models developed to aid all concerned with the means to face what had happened in order to live together peacefully, have been subject to much criticism; these will be discussed. The article will draw on empirical research exploring community-based projects that were supported by a women's charity, established to support widows and orphans in the aftermath of the genocide. Their efforts will be presented as an efficient and effective strategy of transitional justice, due to its location in the community.

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Genocide, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Transitional Justice, NGOs, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2012

Masculinity and Transitional Justice: An Exploratory Essay


Hamber, Brandon. 2007. "Masculinity and Transitional Justice: An Exploratory Essay." The International Journal of Transitional Justice, no. 1, 375-390.

Author: Brandon Hamber


In recent years, there has been a growing focus on including women in transitional justice processes. Some scholars question whether transitional justice mechanisms take obstacles for women, such as ongoing domestic violence, into account. This article follows this line of inquiry using the prism of ongoing violence against women in South Africa. It focuses on masculinity, and questions the degree to which masculinity, and violent masculinities in particular, are considered in transitional justice studies. The article calls for a nuanced understanding of masculinities and their relationship to transitional justice, and sets parameters for a more concerted study of the subject. 

Topics: Domestic Violence, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, Transitional Justice Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2007

Gendered Subjects of Transitional Justice


Franke, Katherine M. 2006. "Gendered Subjects of Transitional Justice." Colombia Journal of Gender and Law 15 (3): 813-28. 

Author: Katherine M. Franke

Topics: Gender, Women, Justice, Transitional Justice

Year: 2006

Gender and Transitional Justice in Africa: Progress and Prospects


Scanlon, Helen, and Kelli Muddell. 2009. “Gender and Transitional Justice in Africa: Progress and Prospects.” African Journal on Conflict Resolution 9 (2): 9-28.

Authors: Helen Scanlon , Kelli Muddell


During the past few decades, different models of transitional justice (TJ) have developed throughout Africa to try to address the mass human rights abuses that have occurred during conflicts. These mechanisms, both judicial and nonjudicial, have often failed to adequately tackle the extensive gender-based violence that has been prevalent on the continent. This article examines the ways truth commissions, legal mechanisms, reparations, security sector reform efforts, and traditional mechanisms in Africa have dealt with gender-based human rights violations. While recent African TJ mechanisms have been innovative in developing means to address crimes against women, these mechanisms continue to fail victims. This is in large part because the current discourse on gender and transitional justice needs to be broadened to better address women’s experiences of conflict. Future TJ initiatives need to re-examine the types of violations prioritised, and recognise the continuum of violence that exists in pre-conflict and post-conflict societies. It is also important to challenge the transitional justice field to stop reducing sexual-based violence to ‘women’s problems’, and explore how men are affected by the gendered dynamics of conflict.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Reparations, Transitional Justice, TRCs, Post-Conflict, Rights, Human Rights, Security Sector Reform, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa

Year: 2009

Transitional Justice as Global Project: Critical Reflections


Nagy, Rosemary. 2008. "Transitional Justice as Global Project: Critical Reflections." Third World Quarterly 29 (2): 275-89.

Author: Rosemary Nagy


This article critically reflects on the ways in which the global project of transitional justice is channelled or streamlined in its scope of application. Using the categories of when, to whom and for what transitional justice applies, it argues that transitional justice is typically constructed to focus on specific sets of actors for specific sets of crimes. This results in a fairly narrow interpretation of violence within a somewhat artificial time frame and to the exclusion of external actors. This article engages themes of gender, power, and structural violence to caution against the narrowing and depoliticisation of transitional justice.

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Justice, Transitional Justice, Violence

Year: 2008

Narrative and Truth: a Feminist Critique of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Kashyap, Rina. 2009. Narrative and Truth: A Feminist Critique of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Contemporary Justice Review 12 (4): 449-467.

Author: Rina Kashyap

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Justice, Transitional Justice, TRCs, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Race Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2009

Reconstructing Masculinities: The Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration of Former Combatants in Colombia


Theidon, Kimberly. 2009. "Reconstructing Masculinities: The Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration of Former Combatants in Colombia." Human Rights Quarterly 31 (1): 1-34.

Author: Kimberly Theidon


A key component of peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction is the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants. I argue that DDR programs imply multiple transitions: from the combatants who lay down their weapons, to the governments that seek an end to armed conflict, to the communities that receive—or reject—these demobilized fighters. At each level, these transitions imply a complex equation between the demands of peace and the clamor for justice. However, traditional approaches to DDR have focused on military and security objectives, which have resulted in these programs being developed in relative isolation from the field of transitional justice and its concerns with historical clarification, justice, reparations, and reconciliation. Drawing upon my research with former combatants in Colombia, I argue that successful reintegration not only requires fusing the processes and goals of DDR programs with transitional justice measures, but that both DDR and transitional justice require a gendered analysis that includes an examination of the salient links between weapons, masculinities, and violence. Constructing certain forms of masculinity is not incidental to militarism: rather, it is essential to its maintenance. What might it mean to “add gender” to DDR and transitional justice processes if one defined gender to include men and masculinities, thus making these forms of identity visible and a focus of research and intervention? I explore how one might “add gender” to the DDR program in Colombia as one step toward successful reintegration, peace-building, and sustainable social change.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, DDR, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Justice, Transitional Justice, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Security, Violence, Weapons /Arms Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2009

Women, Art and Post-Conflict Justice


Mani, Rama. 2011. Women, Art and Post-Conflict Justice. International Criminal Law Review 11: 543-560.

Author: Rama Mani


This article addresses the creative agency of women within the context of post-conflict or transitional justice (TJ). Specifically it seeks to underscore the diverse ways in which women in societies emerging from violent conflict and its attendant gender-based violations and atrocities use art and creative media to pursue the objectives of justice. The aims of this article are twofold: first, this article draws attention to the need for local stakeholders in war-affected communities and their international supporters to go beyond official mechanisms of transitional justice; to integrate cultural justice by recognising and encouraging aesthetic and creative means of pursuing justice after violent transitions, and women's particular capacities in this domain. Second, alongside the drive to treat women as more than victims by recognising their political agency in shaping peace and justice, this article draws attention to the need to recognise the creative agency of women and its valuable albeit intangible benefits for TJ and peacebuilding.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Justice, Transitional Justice, Peacebuilding, Political Participation

Year: 2011

Women, Security, and the Patriarchy of Internationalized Transitional Justice


Aolain, Fionnuala Ni. 2009. Women, Security, and the Patriarchy of Internationalized Transitional Jusice. Human Rights Quarterly 31 (4): 1055-1085.

Author: Fionnuala Ni Aolain


In the contemporary global context, transitions from conflict to peace and from authoritarian to democratic governance are a critical preoccupation of many states. In these contexts, accountability for the abuses committed by prior regimes has been a priority for international institutions, states, and new governments. Nonetheless, transitional justice goals have expanded to include a broad range of structural reforms in multiple spheres. Whether an expanded or contracted transitional justice paradigm is used to define the perimeters of change, gender concerns have been markedly absent across jurisdictions experiencing transformation. This article examines the conceptualization of and legal provision for gender security and its sub- sequent effects upon accountability in times of transition, with particular reference to post-conflict societies. The article closely assesses a range of contemporary issues implicated for women including an examination of post-conflict security from a gender perspective, gender and disarmament, and the centrality and effect of security sector reform for women. The article pays particular attention to the under-theorized and under-researched role of international masculinities, and the patriarchy that is imported with international oversight of transitional societies.

Topics: DDR, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Justice, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Security, Security Sector Reform

Year: 2009

Transitional Justice and Gender in Uganda: Making Peace, Failing Women during the Peace Negotiation Process


Nabukeera-Musoke, Harriet. 2009. “Transitional Justice and Gender in Uganda: Making Peace, Failing Women during the Peace Negotiation Process.” African Journal on Conflict Resolution 9 (2): 121-9.

Author: Harriet Nabukeera-Musoke




Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Justice, Transitional Justice, Peace Processes Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2009


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