Transitional Justice in Societies Emerging from Intractable Conflicts: Between the Right to Truth and Collective Memory

  • Ofer Shinar LevanonEmail author
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS)


Recent advances in social psychology, focusing on the unique psychological repertoire of societies which are sides to an intractable conflict, can offer a roadmap of the challenges facing attempts to transform societies which have endured a prolonged period of massive violence. However, the recent development of transitional justice, a legal-led approach to conflict resolution, did not rely on extensive social psychology knowledge regarding intractable conflicts. Transitional justice was adopted in recent decades in numerous national processes of transition aiming to ensure the non-recurrence of violence, promotion rule of law, and other democratic values following a totalitarian regime or an intractable conflict. Consisting of a multitude of processes and mechanisms and supported by the United Nations as the primary approach to dealing with legacies of mass human rights violations, transitional justice does aim to reflect intricate social circumstances and promote socially sensitive solutions. Yet, the growing support for transitional justice as an approach to past injustices and social reconstruction has also promoted internationally uniform standards to transitional justice, which thereby limit its ability to create socially specific solutions.

The first part of the paper provides a brief introduction to transitional justice as a thriving field of research and practice. The second part examines truth seeking as a transitional justice goal, while the third part focuses on the right to truth as an emerging concept of international law. The fourth and final part discusses sociopsychological dynamics of societies involved in intractable conflict as potential challenges to truth-seeking efforts such as truth commissions.


Transitional Justice Geneva Convention Violent Conflict Truth Commission Special Rapporteur 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Work, Sapir College, Sderot Israel and Rothberg International SchoolHebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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