Transitional Justice and Intergroup Conflict

Brandon Hamber

in The Oxford Handbook of Intergroup Conflict

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199747672
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Transitional Justice and Intergroup Conflict

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This chapter considers the impact of transitional justice mechanisms on intergroup conflict. Specifically, it discusses two of the most popular and large-scale transitional justice methods, namely, justice-based mechanisms and truth commissions. The chapter not only explores arguments about how these mechanisms can improve intergroup relations but also considers the limitations associated with each. It argues that transitional justice mechanisms can create a context where intergroup relations can be fostered, but equally they carry risks and could aggravate intergroup conflict. The chapter concludes that multiple transitional justice mechanisms are needed in societies moving out of conflict (e.g., justice-based approaches, reparations, and truth commissions), but that transitional justice processes are only part of what is needed to address intergroup conflict. Complementary processes are necessary to maximize the impact of transitional justice mechanisms on intergroup relations, and vice versa. Such processes include ensuring social justice and sustaining programs aimed at addressing intergroup conflict (e.g., dialogue, contact, reconciliation programs).

Keywords: Transitional justice; intergroup conflict; reconciliation; justice; truth commissions

Article.  12480 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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