Transition and Justice: An Introduction
Gerhard Anders – 2014
Since the end of the Cold War, political new beginnings have increasingly been linked to questions of transitional justice. The contributions to this collection examine a series of cases from across the African continent where peaceful ‘new beginnings’ have been declared after periods of violence and where transitional justice institutions played a role in defining justice and the new socio-political order. Three issues seem to be crucial to the understanding of transitional justice in the context of wider social debates on justice and political change: the problem of ‘new beginnings’, of finding a foundation for that which explicitly breaks with the past; the discrepancies between lofty promises and the messy realities of transitional justice in action; and the dialectic between logics of the exception and the ordinary, employed to legitimize or resist transitional justice mechanisms. These are the particular focus of this Introduction.