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The ‘Long Grass’ of Agreements: Promise, Theory and Practice

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image of International Criminal Law Review

Peace agreements have their honeymoon periods launched by a photo shoot marking the outbreak of ‘peace’. The work of converting the promise and hard-won compromises of a transition into reality is fraught with visible and hidden threats. When can we know a transition is ‘working’? How can we calculate the level of security threat posed to future stability by deep rooted structural inequalities? What role does restorative justice play in these dilemmas? The textual and political site for this analysis is Northern Ireland’s 1998 Agreement. Intersectionality theory aids analysis of the gender dynamics of law and politics in this jurisdiction. We find that political stability has built-in gendered costs and benefits. Local restorative justice initiatives may proactively reduce communal tensions but benefits to women may be less evident. An intersectional assessment brings women’s lives into the picture and moreover explains how transitions work in practice.

Affiliations: 1: aAssociate, Transitional Justice Institute, Senior Lecturer, School of Sociology and Applied Social Studies, University of Ulster, UK ; 2: bVisiting Scholar, Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster, UK


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