What are Transitions for? Atrocity, International Criminal Justice, and the Political

32 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2014 Last revised: 12 Feb 2015

Date Written: December 24, 2014


This essay offers an answer to the question of what societies afflicted by atrocities ought to transition into. The answer offered is able to better direct the evaluation of previous models and the design of new models of transitional justice.

Into what, then, should transitional justice transition? I argue in this essay that transitional justice should be a transition into the political, understood in its robust liberalism version. I further argue that the most significant part of transitions ought to happen in the minds of the members of political communities, precisely where the less tangible and yet most important dimension of the political sets root. Both of these points are missing in transitional justice models and debates. In the current scenario of transitional justice models and debates, transitional justice practices and processes, as well as the normative forms of discourse that accompany them, fail to fully take the political as an end, thus failing in both transition and justice.

Keywords: Transitional Justice, International Criminal Law, Cruelty, Mercy, The Political

JEL Classification: K14, K33, K40

Suggested Citation

Barrozo, Paulo, What are Transitions for? Atrocity, International Criminal Justice, and the Political (December 24, 2014). Quinnipiac Law Review, Vol. 32, No. 3, 2014, Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 344, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2542621

Paulo Barrozo (Contact Author)

Boston College - Law School ( email )

885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States
(617)552-4388 (Phone)

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