The Political in Transitional Justice

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Abstract

A growing number of academic works addresses political aspects of transitional justice (TJ), yet the field of TJ operates with a largely implicit concept of politics. This chapter applies international political theory to understand different notions of the political in TJ scholarship, identifying a realist, liberal and constructivist conception of politics and its relationship to law. Each of these conceptions approaches TJ in a specific way that follows from their assumptions. To demonstrate how realist, liberal and constructivist approaches lead to different kinds and evaluations of TJ, the chapter analyses an existing case of TJ: the African backlash against the International Criminal Court (ICC). In this case, the three conceptions of politics inform both the phenomenon (the backlash) and scholarly analysis of it. Participants and observers, as we shall see, operate with implicit ideas of the political and its relationship to the legal domain. Through the theoretical discussion and the analysis of a specific case, the chapter demonstrates that scholars, policymakers and practitioners act and reflect on TJ according to their particular and partial conceptions of politics and its relationship with law and justice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaking a Difference: The Impact of Transitional Justice
EditorsNandor Knust, Susanne Karstedt, Chrisje Brants
PublisherRoutledge
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Politics and law
  • realism
  • liberalism
  • constructivism
  • Africa
  • International Criminal Court

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