Transitional Justice: A Colonizing Field?

Stephanie Vieille


Throughout its development, the transitional justice scholarship has favored the use and implementation of specific judicial institutions, including courts and tribunals, to carry out justice and hold individuals accountable in the aftermath of mass violations of human rights. These institutions, I argue, are rooted in a neo-liberal framework that sanctions the rule of law and a certain understanding the nature of law and justice. The transitional justice literature is informed by certain assumptions about the ‘goodness’ and ‘neutrality’ of the rule of law, which it blindly exports. I contend that the unquestioned promotion of the rule of law at the international level is concerning vis-a-vis the feasibility and applicability of the judicial arrangements that are transplanted to a variety of contexts. The universalizing tendency of the legalist paradigm that underlies the transitional justice scholarship and practitioners dictates the kinds of activities that are undertaken in transitional societies.


Transitional Justice; Rule of Law; Neo-Liberalism; Justice; Legalist paradigm

Full Text:


Copyright (c) 2012 Stephanie Vieille

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The Amsterdam Law Forum - ISSN 1876-8156 - is an open access initiative supported by the VU University Library.