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Transitional Justice from Below

Collaborators: , Professor Harry Mika

Funded by Atlantic Philanthropies, this comparative research project seeks to counterbalance the traditional 'top down' analysis of transitional and post-conflict justice by exploring the work done by community activists and ex-combatants to transform local cultures of violence.

The potentially transformative role of ex-combatants and local communities in transitional justice is largely overlooked in the accepted contemporary strategies for post-conflict reconstruction and humanitarian development, which are (respectively) "demobilisation, disarmament and reconstruction" and "reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation".

Through a combination of research methods, including field work, this project examined transitional justice initiatives 'from below' in South Africa, Rwanda, Colombia, Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland in a comparative analysis of the range and potential for local peacebuilding. The project drew particularly on the experiences and lessons of Northern Ireland in the implementation of community-based restorative justice initiatives to counteract paramilitary punishment violence.