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Anticipating the Past: Transitional Justice and Socio-Economic Wrongs

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Publication details

JournalSocial and Legal Studies
DatePublished - Jun 2012
Issue number2
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)171-186
Original languageEnglish


Even as transitional justice struggles to deliver on its original promises of truth, justice and reconciliation, more demands are being placed on it. Over the past several years, the transitional justice ‘industry’ has embraced holistic approaches that have it doing ever more. This article critically examines transitional justice’s recent attention towards historically constructed socio-economic inequalities. It begins by looking at the shift in transitional justice discourse and practice with respect to economic and social rights. Next, it discusses the arguments made for transitional justice’s engagement with those rights and looks at efforts by truth commissions and administrative reparations programmes to address them. Finally, it argues that transitional justice should avoid directly addressing past socio-economic wrongs and explores some alternate paths.

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