Bronwyn Leebaw

Lost, Forgotten, or Buried? Transitional Justice, Agency, and the Memory of Resistance

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: transitional justice; reconciliation; memory; Hannah Arendt; human rights.

This paper asks why the theme of resistance has been largely, though not entirely, excluded from the theory and practice of transitional justice. It argues that the theme of resistance is awkward for transitional justice because of the way that transitional justice institutions have invoked notions of helplessness, innocence, and obedience in order to challenge various forms of denial and frame their own contributions to political reconciliation. As a result, transitional justice institutions have construed responsibility in very narrow terms, and lost, forgotten or actively buried lessons from the past that might offer guidance in advancing their political goals. The second section of the paper draws on Arendt's discussion of exemplary validity to consider how the theme of resistance might be integrated into the theory and practice of transitional justice. The paper concludes by reflecting on how the discussion might inform a conceptual distinction between "transitional justice" and "post-conflict justice."

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