Transitional Justice as Recognition: An Analysis of the Women’s Court in Sarajevo


Clark, Janine Natalya. 2016. “Transitional Justice as Recognition: An Analysis of the Women’s Court in Sarajevo.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 10 (1): 67–87. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijv027.

Author: Janine Natalya Clark


In May 2015, a women’s court was held in Sarajevo over a four-day period. It was the first such court on European soil in over 40 years and reflected a growing awareness within the former Yugoslavia of the limitations of international and national criminal trials. I attended the Women’s Court, and this article draws on both my experiences as a participant observer and my interviews with some of the organizers and witnesses. Although it is too soon to know whether the Court will produce any substantive results or have any lasting impact, I offer an early analysis. While the organizers of the Court theorized it as feminist justice, I regard feminist justice as part of what Frank Haldemann terms ‘justice as recognition.’ Analyzing and assessing the Court within this conceptual framework, I argue that it successfully delivered justice as recognition at a symbolic level. The challenge now is to translate this symbolic justice as recognition into a more tangible and practical form.

Keywords: Women's Court, former Yugoslavia, justice as recognition, feminist justice, holistic approach

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Transitional Justice Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2016

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