Are Top-down Approaches of Transitional Justice Enough to Deliver Justice?
To what extent can transitional justice from below tackle the contemporary problems of doing justice after mass violence?
Keywords:Transitional justice, Justice "from below", Conflicts and mass atrocities, Civil society, Reconciliation
The aim of the article is to shed light on the values of transitional justice from below: this peculiar approach fits in the whole process of transition towards democracy, peace, and reconciliation and constitutes a praiseworthy course of action to deliver justice after mass atrocities have been perpetrated during a conflict. To begin with, the “bottom-up approach” will be analyzed. Secondly, the article will consider the specular “top-down approach” by pointing out its deficiencies. The call for an enriched transitional process that considers the needs and the will of the affected communities comes from civil society itself; if not, it is feared that the whole process might be perceived as illegitimate, compromising the entire transition. In fact, civil society, in its various forms, is a key player that can benefit the transitional process. After these introductory remarks, the article tries to investigate the ideal role that civil society should play when governmental institutions of a particular country obstruct, or at least, do not undertake, initiatives of transitional justice. It goes without saying that not even bottom-up initiatives are free from criticism.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Davide Toniatti
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