GIR Colloquium Series | Evaluating Transitional Justice

6 September, 2018
1:00pm - 2:30pm


Despite an increase in scholarly efforts to evaluate transitional justice (TJ) programmes, there is little agreement over what TJ is, what effects it could be expected to have, or how TJ mechanisms should be judged. This paper contributes to the literature on TJ evaluation by showing how differences in understanding of the nature and value of the ‘justice’ in TJ affect what is evaluated and how findings are interpreted.

The paper parses the values inherent in TJ evaluations (retributive, restorative and transformative justice, valuable for intrinsic or instrumental reasons) in order to think through the ways in which different value orientations lead to different appraisals. A broad sample of literature on the TJ programme in Sierra Leone is analyzed according to the value orientations it tends towards. The analysis finds that evaluations of Sierra Leonean TJ can be found displaying each of the six value orientations, with no agreement about the success of the TJ programme from within orientations, let alone across them. Additionally, it is argued that scholars and researchers are rarely explicit about their orientations, and there is insufficient consideration of the political implications of different value positions for prescriptions for future TJ programmes.


About the speaker:

Kirsten Ainley is an Associate Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research is in the field of global ethics and is concerned very broadly with relationships between politics, law and ethics in international relations. She focuses on international policy and practice in military, legal and development-focused interventions, and the impacts of these interventions. She has published on international criminal law, transitional justice, the International Criminal Court and the Responsibility to Protect in journals such as The International Journal of Transitional Justice, Ethics and International Affairs, International Affairs and the Cambridge Review of International Affairs.


Location: Room 498 Merewether building, Butlin Avenue, University of Sydney