'Today, I Want to Speak Out the Truth': Victim Agency, Responsibility, and Transitional Justice

Citation:

Baines, Erin K. 2015. “‘Today, I Want to Speak Out the Truth’: Victim Agency, Responsibility, and Transitional Justice.” International Political Sociology 9 (4): 316–32.
 

Author: Erin K. Baines

Abstract:

In this article, I am concerned with the political agency available to victims of wartime violence, and the subsequent insights it generates for thinking about complicity and responsibility. The article first considers the problematic ways in which victims are cast in the discipline of transitional justice, drawing on interdisciplinary studies of gender, agency, and wartime violence. I conceptualize the political as relational and situated within a web of human relationships that make life meaningful. Political agency includes acts, gestures, and words that negotiate the value of human life within various relationships. To illustrate, I turn to the life story of Sara, a young woman who grew up in the context of prolonged conflict in northern Uganda. I conclude with thinking about how Sara’s acts of political agency move us beyond static categories of victims in transitional justice, and conceive of responsibility as diffuse and socially held.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice, Transitional Justice, TRCs, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2015

© 2020 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.