After Things Fall Apart: Challenges for Transitional Justice Futures

Fionnuala Ni Aolain

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This article addresses the expansions, constrictions and pressures being faced by the transitional justice field. I affirm the important hybridity and interdisciplinary dimensions of transitional justice, but also underscore the extent to which the field remains firmly rooted in and attached to legal practice. I fix my analysis on three particular tensions in transitional justice. First, defining the sites of transitional justice, worries about the breadth of the field and anxieties that transitional justice practice is being over-expanded and thereby robbed of its core content and moral claims. Second, growing awareness of fragmentation of the field of transitional justice – illustrated by a plethora of ‘soft law’ norms emerging from a range of international and regional actors, and the implications for accountability and legal traction. Finally, ongoing calls for holistic approaches to address transitional societies and the weaknesses of insufficient or incomplete transitional justice for conflict and repression in emergent societies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-40
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Rights and International Legal Discourse
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 12 Mar 2017


  • Transitional Justice, legal change, fragmentation, democratic transitions, post-transitional justice, intervention, peacemaking


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