The impact of civil society on transitional justice is complex in part because civil society is composed of a multitude of actors, faith-based and secular, whose preferences for accountability and truth reflect their varying interests and beliefs about justice. Transnational faith-based and secular actors have played a central role in mobilizing support for liberal-legal strategies designed to hold perpetrators of mass atrocities accountable. Local faith-based actors have been resilient to pressure for conformity and have instead played a pivotal role in adapting international accountability norms and embedding them in local practices. Other locally rooted actors in civil society have rejected or adapted international strategies despite sharing an understanding of justice with international civil society actors. This article develops a framework for understanding the roles different civil society actors play in navigating and negotiating the boundary between international expectations for accountability and local practice. Its premise is that normative contestation over appropriate strategies for dealing with the past is robust, and that much of this contestation takes place through the work of civil society actors who translate global norms into local practice rather than through vigorous public debate.
Journal Article. 9481 words.
Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration ; Public International Law ; Human Rights
Full text: subscription required