Investigations into Military Operations: What Impact on Transitional Justice?

Israel Law Review, Forthcoming

Emory Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-266

21 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2013 Last revised: 29 Apr 2014

Date Written: October 17, 2013


The recent proliferation of external investigations into military operations raises important questions for the conduct of military operations and the interpretation and implementation of international law. The impact of such investigations, and their reports, extends beyond how they influence the military and the implementation of the law of armed conflict, however. As countries and societies embroiled in lengthy conflicts begin to explore the value and effectiveness of undertaking transitional justice efforts during conflict, rather than only after conflict, investigations into military operations and specific incidents can play an important — and perhaps unexpected — role. This Article focuses specifically on the interrelationship between investigations and transitional justice efforts. As investigations into military operations become a common tool in the international and national arsenal, understanding how they interact with and affect broader transitional justice efforts and goals becomes important, for both the conceptualization of investigations and the development of transitional justice mechanisms. This Article addresses the relationship between investigations and the truth-telling aspect of transitional justice mechanisms, as well as the impact of the use of law and legal analysis on the legitimacy of the investigations and on potential transitional justice mechanisms.

Keywords: investigations, law of armed conflict, IHL, international humanitarian law, transitional justice, truth commissions, commissions of inquiry, Goldstone Report

Suggested Citation

Blank, Laurie R., Investigations into Military Operations: What Impact on Transitional Justice? (October 17, 2013). Israel Law Review, Forthcoming; Emory Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-266. Available at SSRN:

Laurie R. Blank (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-712-1711 (Phone)


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