Reconciliation Challenges

  • Alpaslan Özerdem
  • Sukanya Podder
Part of the Rethinking Political Violence Series book series (RPV)


One of the tragic ironies of civil conflict is that in the majority of instances, as part of a process towards securing a lasting and credible peace, people on all sides must eventually turn their attention towards learning to live together again. Victims, perpetrators and others in war-affected communities begin the formidable task of reconciling with one another, politically and interpersonally, re-framing and re-humanizing their opposite numbers, rebuilding trust and accountability and coming to terms with the legacies of the past. A major challenge for post-conflict societies and for the international and local specialists rendering their services is how to encourage this rebuilding of relationships. How can the abstract concept of reconciliation be made meaningful in post-conflict lived reality, especially when in the minds of many people discourses of reconciliation may seem futile, or at least be deeply contested? And how do we resource this work with appropriate theoretical and legal frameworks and with the other tools and mechanisms needed to facilitate reconciliation processes? More importantly, there is a need to focus on unique or specific challenges of reconciliation that are inherent to different conflict-affected groups such as women, displaced communities, combatants and youth. Therefore, the main objective of this chapter is to argue that youth face or create unique reconciliation challenges after war.


Transitional Justice Justice Process International Criminal Tribunal Truth Commission Reconciliation Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arthur, P. (2009) ‘How “Transitions” Shaped Human Rights: A Conceptual History of Transitional Justice’, Human Rights Quarterly 31 (2), 231–267 (Baltimore, USA: John Hopkins University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Babo-Soares, D. (2004) ‘Nahe Biti: The Philosophy and Process of Grassroots Reconciliation (and Justice) in East Timor’, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 5 (1), 15–33 (Canberra: The Australian National University).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Babo-Soares, D. (2005) ‘Nahe Biti: Grassroots Reconciliation in East Timor’, in E. Skarr, S. Gloppen, and A. Suhrke (eds) Roads to Reconciliation (Maryland, USA: Lexington Books).Google Scholar
  4. Baines, E. (2007) ‘The Haunting of Alice: Local Approaches to Justice and Reconciliation in Northern Uganda’, The International Journal of Transitional Justice 1 (1), 91–114 (UK: Oxford University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baines, E. (2010) ‘Spirits and Social Reconstruction after Mass Violence: Rethinking Transitional Justice’, African Affairs, 109 (436), 409–430 (Oxford, UK: Royal African Society).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barsalou, J. (2005) Trauma and Transitional Justice in Divided Societies, USIP Special Report 135, April 2005 (Washington, DC: USIP).Google Scholar
  7. Bloomfield, D. (2003) ‘Reconciliation: An Introduction’, in D. Bloomfield, T. Barnes, and L. Huyse (eds) (2003) Reconciliation after Violent Conflict: A Handbook (Stockholm: IDEA).Google Scholar
  8. Bloomfield, D. (2006) On Good Terms: Clarifying Reconciliation. Berghof Report No. 14 (Germany: Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management).Google Scholar
  9. Brahm, E. (2007) ‘Uncovering the Truth: Examining Truth Commission Success and Impact’, International Studies Perspectives, 8 (1), 16–35 (Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chapman, A. (2009) ‘Approaches to Studying Reconciliation’, in H. Van Der Merwe, V. Baxter, and A. Chapman (eds) Assessing the Impact of Transitional Justice: Challenges for Empirical Research (Washington, DC: United States United of Peace).Google Scholar
  11. Clark, P. (2007) ‘Hybridity, Holism and “Traditional” Justice: The Case of the Gacaca Courts in Post-Genocide Rwanda’, George Washington International Law Review, 39, 765–837.Google Scholar
  12. Clark, P. (2010) The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda: Justice Without Lawyers (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Crocker, D. (2000) ‘Truth Commissions, Transitional Justice, and Civil Society’, in R. Rotberg and D. Thompson (eds) Truth v. Justice: The Morality of Truth Commissions, 99–121 (Princeton: Princeton University Press).Google Scholar
  14. Crocker, D. (2002) ‘Retribution and Reconciliation’, in V. Gehring and W. Galston (eds) Dimensions of Public Policy, Policy Studies Review Annual, Vol. 13 (New Jersey: Transaction Publishers).Google Scholar
  15. David, R. and S. Choi (2005) ‘Victims on Transitional Justice: Lessons from the Reparation of Human Rights Abuses in the Czech Republic’, Human Rights Quarterly 27 (2), 392–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Duthie, R. (2008) ‘Toward a Development-Sensitive Approach to Transitional Justice’, International Journal of Transitional Justice 21 (2), 292–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Duthie, R. and I. Specht (2009) ‘DDR, Transitional Justice, and the Reintegration of Former Child Combatants’, in A. Cutter Patel, P. De Greiff, and L. Waldorf (eds) Disarming the Past: Transitional Justice and Ex-combatants (New York: Social Science Research Council).Google Scholar
  18. Elster, J. (2004) Closing the Books: Transitional Justice in Historical Perspective (UK: Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fletcher, L. and H. Weinstein (2002) ‘Violence and Social Repair: Rethinking the Contribution of Justice to Reconciliation’, Human Rights Quarterly 24, 573–639 (USA: The Johns Hopkins University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fletcher, L., H. Weinstein and J. Rowen (2009) ‘Context, Timing and Dynamics of Transitional Justice: A Historical Perspective’, Human Rights Quarterly 31 (1), 163–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gibson, J. (2004) Overcoming Apartheid: Can Truth Reconcile a Divided Nation? (New York: Russell Sage Foundation).Google Scholar
  22. Gloppen, S. (2005) ‘Roads to Reconciliation: A Conceptual Framework’, in E. Skarr, S. Gloppen, and A. Suhrke (eds) Roads to Reconciliation (Maryland, USA: Lexington Books).Google Scholar
  23. Gready, P. (2010) The Era of Transitional Justice: The Aftermath of Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and Beyond (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  24. Hamber, B. (2003) ‘Rights and Reasons: Challenges for Truth Recovery in South Africa and Northern Ireland’, Fordham International Law Journal 26 (4), 1074–1094.Google Scholar
  25. Hamber, B. and G. Kelly (2004) ‘Reconciliation: A Working Definition’, Democratic Dialogue,
  26. Hayner, P. (2001) Unspeakable Truths: Facing the Challenge of Truth Commissions (New York: Routledge).Google Scholar
  27. Igreja, V. and B. Dias-Lambranca (2008) ‘Restorative Justice and the Role of Magamba Spirits in Post-Civil War Gorongosa, Central Mozambique’, in L. Huyse and M. Salter (eds) Traditional Justice and Reconciliation after Violent Conflict: Learning from African Experiences (Stockholm: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance).Google Scholar
  28. Judicial System Monitoring Programme (2004) Unfulfilled Expectations: Community Views on CAVR’s Community Reconciliation Process (Dili, East Timor: Justice System Monitoring Programme).Google Scholar
  29. Kaldor (1999) New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era (US: Stanford University Press).Google Scholar
  30. Laplante, L. (2007) ‘On the Indivisibility of Rights: Truth Commissions, Reparations, and the Right to Development’, Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal 10, 141–177.Google Scholar
  31. Laplante, L. and K. Theidon (2007) ‘Truth with Consequences: Justice and Reparations in Post Truth-Commission Peru’, Human Rights Quarterly 29, 228–250 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Le Touze, D., D. Silove, and A. Zwi (2005) ‘Can there Be Healing without Justice? Lessons from the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor’, Intervention 3 (3), 192–202.Google Scholar
  33. Lederach, J. P. (2001) ‘Five Qualities of Practice in Support of Reconciliation Processes’, in G. Raymond, S. J. Helmick, and R. L. Petersen (eds) Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Religion, Public Policy, and Conflict Transformation, (West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Press) 183–193.Google Scholar
  34. Lundy, P. and M. McGovern (2008) ‘Whose Justice? Rethinking Transitional Justice from the Bottom Up’, Journal of Law and Society 35 (2m), 265–292 (Cardiff, Wales: Cardiff University Law School).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mani, R. (2005) ‘Balancing Peace with Justice in the Aftermath of Violent Conflict’, Development 48 (3), 25–34 (Washington, DC: Society for International Development).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McEvoy, K. (2007) ‘Beyond Legalism: Towards a Thicker Understanding of Transitional Justice’, Journal of Law and Society 34 (4), 411–440 (Cardiff, Wales: Cardiff University Law School).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mendeloff, D. (2004) ‘Truth-Seeking, Truth-Telling and Postconflict Peacebuilding: Curb the Enthusiasm?’, International Studies Review 6 (3), 355–380 (Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Miller, Z. (2008) ‘Effects of Invisibility: In Search of the “Economic” in Transitional Justice’, International Journal of Transitional Justice 21 (2), 171–186.Google Scholar
  39. Mobekk, E. (2005) ‘Transitional Justice in Post-conflict Societies — Approaches to Reconciliation’, in A. Ebnother and P. Fluri (eds) After Intervention: Public Security Management in Post-conflict Societies: From Intervention to Sustainable Local Ownership (Geneva: Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF)).Google Scholar
  40. Muggah, R. (2005) ‘No Magic Bullet: A Critical Perspective on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and Weapons Reduction in Post-conflict Contexts’, The Round Table 94 (379), 239–252 (UK: The Round Table).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Nagy, R. (2008) ‘Transitional Justice as Global Project: Critical Reflections’, Third World Quarterly 29 (2), 275–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Oomen, B. (2005) ‘Donor-Driven Justice and Its Discontents: The Case of Rwanda’, Development and Change 36 (5), 887–910 (Oxford, UK: Institute of Social Studies).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Parmar, S. et al. (2010) Children and Transitional Justice: Truth-Telling, Accountability and Reconciliation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).Google Scholar
  44. Ramírez-Barat, C. (2012) Engaging Children and Youth in Transitional Justice Processes: Guidance for Outreach Programmes (New York, USA: International Centre for Transitional Justice).Google Scholar
  45. Reiter, A., T. Olsen, and L. Payne (2012) ‘Transitional Justice and Civil War: Exploring New Pathways, Challenging Old Guideposts’, Transitional Justice Review 1 (1), 137–169.Google Scholar
  46. Robinson, G. (2009) If You Leave Us Here We Will Die: How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).Google Scholar
  47. Roht-Arriaza, N. (2006) ‘The New Landscape of Transitional Justice’, in N. Roht-Arriaza and J. Mariezcurrena (eds) Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Truth Versus Justice (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rotberg, R. (2000) ‘Truth Commissions and the Provision of Truth, Justice and Reconciliation’, in R. Rotberg and D. Thompson (eds) Truth v. Justice: The Morality of Truth Commissions (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Schwartz, S. (2010) Youth in Post-conflict Reconstruction: Agents of Change (Washington, DC, USA: United State Institute of Peace).Google Scholar
  50. Senier, A. (2008) ‘Traditional Justice as Transitional Justice: A Comparative Case Study of Rwanda and East Timor’, Praxis: The Fletcher Journal of Human Security, XXIII, 67–88 (Massachusetts, USA: Tufts University).Google Scholar
  51. Skarr, E., S. Gloppen, and A. Suhrke (eds) (2005) Roads to Reconciliation (Oxford: Lexington Books).Google Scholar
  52. Stevens, J. (2000) Access to Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of Traditional and Informal Justice Systems (London, UK: Penal Reform International).Google Scholar
  53. Stover, E. and H. Weinstein (eds) (2004) My Neighbour, My Enemy: Justice an Community in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocity (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  54. Teitel, R. (2003) ‘Transitional Justice Genealogy’, Harvard Human Rights Journal 16, 69–94.Google Scholar
  55. Teitel, R. (2005) ‘The Law and Politics of Contemporary Transitional Justice’, Cornell International Law Journal 38 (10), 837–863.Google Scholar
  56. Triponel, A. and S. Pearson (2010) ‘What Do You Think Should Happen? Public Participation in Transitional Justice’, Pace International Law Review 11 (1), 103–144.Google Scholar
  57. UNDP (2012) ‘Closure of Gacaca’, 18 June 2012, Available online: Scholar
  58. Waldorf, L. (2006) ‘Mass Justice for Mass Atrocity: Rethinking Local Justice as Transitional Justice’, Temple Law Review 79 (1), 1–88 (Philadelphia, USA: Temple University of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education).Google Scholar
  59. Waldorf, L. (2012) ‘Anticipating the Past: Transitional Justice and Socio-Economic Wrongs’, Social and Legal Studies 21 (2), 171–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Alpaslan Özerdem and Sukanya Podder 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alpaslan Özerdem
    • 1
  • Sukanya Podder
    • 2
  1. 1.Coventry UniversityUK
  2. 2.Centre for International Security and Resilience (CISR)Cranfield UniversityUK

Personalised recommendations