Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Call for Papers: Whose Justice? Global and Local Approaches to Transitional Justice

The International Journal of Transitional Justice has issued a call for papers for a special issue on "Whose Justice? Global and Local Approaches to Transitional Justice." Here's the call:

The International Journal of Transitional Justice invites submissions for its 2009 special issue titled ‘Whose Justice? Global and Local Approaches to Transitional Justice’ to be guest edited by Professor Kimberly Theidon, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University and Executive Director of Praxis Institute for Social Justice.

A genealogy of transitional justice indicates that from the post-WWII tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo to the proliferation of tribunals and truth commissions in the present, the field of transitional justice has both expanded and normalized. The burgeoning of transitional justice is often associated with the post-Cold War political climate in which a significant number of authoritarian, oppressive and frequently violent nation-states began to transition towards peace and procedural democracy. Importantly, in the post-Cold War context the ‘new wars’ increasingly involve multiple and armed non-state actors and, at times, massive civilian participation in the violence. Thus transitional justice practitioners are increasingly called upon to intervene in contexts in which the state is one perpetrator among many, and in which the issues of justice, redress and social reconstruction involve ‘intimate enemies.’

To address these challenges, there has been an increased interest in local or community-based justice measures. For example, in his August 2004 report on transitional justice and the rule of law, the UN Secretary General wrote that ‘due regard must be given to indigenous and informal traditions for administering justice or settling disputes, to help them to continue their often vital role and to do so in conformity with both international standards and local tradition.’ Similarly, the UN Security Council in October of the same year underlined the ‘importance of assessing the particular justice and rule of law needs in each host country, taking into consideration the nature of the country’s legal system, traditions and institutions, and of avoiding a "one size fits all" approach.’

In this special issue of the IJTJ, we invite theoretical, practical and policy oriented papers that examine both the complementary and contradictory logics introduced when considering a politics of scale. Just as we advocate moving beyond the disciplinary fiefdoms that hamper our collective thinking on these issues, we also encourage thinking that explores the points of articulations between international, national and local transitional justice measures.

Papers in this issue may address topics such as:

• the definition of transitional justice and its goals — who defines the field and whether there are universal concepts which can be applied

• the relationship between international justice mechanisms and local processes and priorities – including complementarity, sequencing and differing definitions of victimhood.

• the role of actors/ stakeholders involved when introducing a politics of scale into our analyses

• how do local priorities, histories and international standards converge and diverge and with what consequences

• how do transitional justice mechanisms contribute, if they do, to the goal of reconciliation/ social reconstruction

• how might local justice mechanisms be incorporated into state and international interventions

• what is the role of ritual in accessing guilt and administering various forms of justice

• traditional justice – its use and misuse in its application to transitional justice

The deadline for submissions is April 15, 2009.

Papers should be submitted online from the IJTJ webpage at

For questions or further information, please contact the Managing Editor at