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IJTJ 2010 - 2010 Special Issue, International Journal for Transitional Justice



VenueSpecial Is, Andorra Andorra



Topics/Call fo Papers

The International Journal for Transitional Justice invites submissions for its 2010 special issue titled “Transitional Justice on Trial: Evaluating its Impact”

The proliferation of transitional justice mechanisms over the last two decades, has led to a growing concern that the enthusiasm of TJ proponents has overshadowed the critical importance of understanding the impacts it is having on the lives of people reckoning with a violent past.

Increasingly, hard questions are appearing in the literature on transitional justice; and academics are calling into question some of the core assumptions that tie together transitional justice, peacebuilding and development. For example, is there a causal relationship between dealing with the past and prevention of violent conflict in the future? Scholars allege that what exists is largely ‘anecdotal evidence,’ which is difficult to generalize across cases, contexts and time.

Moving to the level of practice, stakeholders involved in the administration of international aid are clamouring for more evidence-based approaches in support of transitional justice policymaking. In the corridors of multilateral, bilateral and other grantmaking agencies, it is not unusual to hear questions such as “How do we know that transitional justice really works?” Civil society organisations ? particularly those working with victims in the global South ? are demanding credible approaches for evaluating the impacts of transitional justice in societies often faced with the competing demands of impunity, corruption, poverty and social injustice. Advocates of transitional justice have tended to respond with principle-based arguments that speak to universally accepted human rights norms and off-hand remarks about moral imperatives. This is not to belittle the importance of the transitional justice project. It is to highlight the urgent need to build a solid body of evidence that sheds light on transitional justice’s successes and failures. The fact of the matter is that transitional justice ? often controversial and always laden with political risks ? is badly in need of an objective knowledge base that tells the impact story.

In this special issue of the IJTJ, we would like to delve more deeply into the impact dilemma currently being faced by those with a stake in the outcomes of transitional justice policies and practices. Just as evidence can be found in multiple and often unexpected places, we encourage the submission of theoretical, practical and policy-oriented papers from a broad spectrum of disciplines: law, sociology, anthropology, psychology, criminology, evaluation research, international relations and economics, among others. We encourage submissions from north and south-based authors. We welcome inputs from academics, from practitioners who have engaged in assessing the impact of their interventions, or other stakeholders who have reflected systematically on these issues.

Possible topics and questions may include (but are not limited to):

State of the art:
? What is the state of knowledge about the effects ? either positive or negative ? of transitional justice?
Methodologies for evaluating the impact of TJ mechanisms and projects:
? What methods of inquiry should be used for evaluating the impact of transitional justice and why?
? What are the potential pitfalls and promise of specific methods?
? Evaluation case studies
? Cross-disciplinary approaches
? Experimental designs
Challenges of conducting evaluation
? What are the particular ethical dilemmas faced by researchers and evaluators? How should they be managed?
? What is the relationship (if any) between transitional justice and larger processes for social and political transformation?
? What constitutes “good enough” evidence for proving causality or correlation between transitional justice and larger societal goals such as reconciliation, respect for human rights and improved democratic governance?
The politics of evaluation:
? How is transitional justice policy made?
? What role (if any) does evidence of impact play?
? How do local, national and international and political imperatives converge and diverge with research to influence perceptions of impact?
? How and who should determine whether transitional justice “works”?
? What are the tensions and trade-offs for determining this locally, nationally or internationally?
Lessons learned from monitoring and evaluation in other fields:
? How can monitoring and evaluative thinking be integrated into transitional justice mechanisms?

The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2010. Papers should be submitted online from the IJTJ webpage at

For questions or further information, please contact the Managing Editor at

Last modified: 2010-06-04 19:32:22