Searching for Truth in the Transitional Justice Movement: Lessons from the Balkans and Colombia

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Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Friday, March 2, 201812:00PM - 2:00PMCentre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies
14 Queen’s Park Crescent West
2nd Floor
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Dr. Rowen will present key findings from her recently published book, Searching for Truth in the Transitional Justice Movement (Cambridge University Press, 2017), which examines the campaigns for a truth commission to redress human rights abuses committed in the course of the war during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, the decades-long armed conflict in Colombia, and US detention policies in the War on Terror. Drawing on twelve years of fieldwork, over 200 interviews, archival and survey research, Rowen’s book considers how transitional justice developed as an idea around which a loosely structured movement emerged and then became professionalized, eventually making truth commissions a standard response to mass violence. By exploring how this movement developed, as well as efforts to establish truth commissions in the Balkans, Colombia, and the US, this talk will address the different processes through which political actors translate new legal ideas such as transitional justice into political action. As will be argued, the malleability of legal ideas and policy interventions such as transitional justice and truth commissions, is both an asset and a liability for those striving to ensure accountability, improve survivor well-being, and prevent future violence.


Lori Wells


Dr. Jamie Rowen
University of Massachussetts - Amherst


Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies

Centre for European, Russian. and Eurasian Studies

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