The Vertical and Horizontal Expansion of Transitional Justice: Explanations and Implications for a Contested Field
THEORIES OF/FOR TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE, Susanne Buckley-Zistel, ed., Oxford University Press, 2012
41 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2012 Last revised: 14 Jan 2014
Date Written: January 28, 2012
The field of transitional justice has expanded significantly in recent years. Transitional justice is no longer exclusively, or even predominantly, discussed as a matter of whether and how the state ought to deploy various tools aimed at promoting accountability, truth and victims’ redress in the context of dealing with human rights violations committed by a prior authoritarian regime. For example, debates about transitional justice now take place in contexts where there has been no regime change, and the state is no longer perceived the only actor relevant for deciding and implementing transitional justice solutions. This paper addresses this proliferation of transitional justice discourses by identifying a number of expansions of the field, either at a horizontal or vertical level. The main feature of the horizontal expansion concerns the increased prevalence of justice tools, conceptualized as transitional justice, in a wide range of cases that are not primarily, or at all, characterized by a liberalizing political transition. The main feature of the vertical expansion involves the prevalence of justice tools beyond the state level, including an internationalization of transitional justice as well as community level responses to abuses and injustices.
Keywords: Transitional justice theory, expansions of transitional justice field, international justice, ICC
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