Justice after Atrocity
The Oxford Handbook of Law and Anthropology, Edited by Marie-Claire Foblets, Mark Goodale, Maria Sapignoli, and Olaf Zenker, 2020
22 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2020
Date Written: October 28, 2020
Anthropologists have been critical of the global asymmetries of knowledge and power embedded in justice institutions established in the aftermath of violence. Truth commissions and mediation processes may be coopted by states seeking to nation-build and extend their coercive and normative capacity in local communities. International criminal courts may impose an alien version of justice that disrupts national politics and a peace process, and they often misapprehend the causes of mass crimes because they employ a form of legal inquiry that is far removed from local historical contexts. Litigation against companies for complicity in crimes against humanity may raise survivors’ expectations, only to dash them when states refuse to recognize universal jurisdiction. Even when legal recourse is not successful, new social movements focused on accountability, reparations, and legal remedy can emerge that engender new forms of sociality and political subjectivity. Anthropological investigations into transitional justice reveal a complex process in which survivors can recover an emancipatory political agency, and anthropologists testifying as experts often influence outcomes more than anticipated.
Keywords: transitional justice, post-conflict justice, international tribunals, international criminal law, war crimes, crimes against humanity, human rights
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation