Since the early 1990s, transitional justice has established itself as a field of study and practice. Proponents make normative links between transitional justice processes—for example, criminal trials, truth commissions and reparations—and broader societal and systemic outcomes, such as healing, reconciliation, peace and democracy. There is, however, a paucity of evidence on the actual effects and experiences of transitional justice interventions in war-affected and fragile places. This paper uses a bibliographic search methodology to pull together the extant evidence on local experiences of transitional justice interventions and finds that local perceptions and experiences of these processes are complex and do not conform with widely-held normative assertions about what transitional justice “ought” to accomplish. The implications for the transitional justice field are examined and recommendations for future research are proposed.
This paper is based on Anna Macdonald, “Local Experiences of Transitional Justice Mechanisms: What does the evidence tell us?” Justice and Security Research Programme Working Paper 6 (2013).
MacDonald, A. From the Ground Up: what does the evidence tell us about local experiences of transitional justice. Transitional Justice Review (2015) 1 (3) Article 4. [DOI: 10.5206/tjr.2015.1.3.4]