Chicago Journal of International Law


While historically seen as being in competition with the demands of peace, transitional justice is increasingly accepted as an important element of post-conflict peacebuilding. Along with the demobilization and disarmament of ex-combatants, security sector reform, rule of law programs, and elections, it has now joined a virtual checklist of initiatives to be carried out in post-conflict countries. The growing sense of shared space between transitional justice and post-conflict peacebuilding initiatives has sparked new interest in sounding out potential connections between both fields. Although the pursuit of synergies is a worthwhile goal, I argue that in developing these connections we must also be attentive to mutual shortcomings. Transitional justice and post-conflict peacebuilding have historically proceeded on separate tracks, yet there has been a remarkable similarity in the critiques and concerns that have been leveled against both fields. More integrated approaches to peacebuilding and transitional justice may exacerbate some of the tendencies that have given rise to these parallel critiques rather than alleviate them. Seeking synergies through the optics of these historic concerns and critiques could be one technique of resistance to these tendencies, leading to the development of innovative techniques for building peace with justice in conflict's wake.