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Justice in the Aftermath of Mass Crimes: International Law and Peacebuilding

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyses the evolution in the international approach towards transitional justice and various factors that contribute to decisions about pursuing accountability versus amnesties. It concentrates on how peace-building goals are affected by the motivations and methodology of the decision-making process, rather than attempt to evaluate the efficacy of the different approaches. It is important to see decisions about transitional justice as part of a peace-building process that aims to meet human needs and transform relationships. The chapter argues that engagement with the local population is critical in this process as supported by evidence from field research in Cambodia and Rwanda and a preliminary analysis of experiences in former Yugoslavia, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. More recent evidence relating to Sierra Leone, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq reveals that international actors are taking a more consultative approach to decisions about justice in the aftermath of mass crimes.

Keywords: decision-making process; mass crimes; peace-building process



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