About Justice in Conflict

One of the more fascinating trends since the end of the Cold War has been the global spread of expectations and demands for international justice. A key element of this trend has been a burgeoning industry of international criminal law, beginning with the ad hoc tribunals in Rwanda (ICTR) and the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the mid-1990s, the establishment of hybrid tribunals in Cambodia (ECCC) and Sierra Leone (SCSL) and the creation of the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC). It has been said that we no longer consider whether to pursue justice, but how and when.

This blog is about two things: competing conceptions and ideas of justice as well as the challenges of pursuing justice in conflict. Justice no longer follows in the wake of peace. It is pursued while violent political conflicts are ongoing in places like Darfur, Sierra Leone and Yugoslavia. This presents many challenges for achieving international criminal justice. At the same time, there are conflicting ideas of what justice is. Justice is not a monolithic entity as much as a moving target. One’s idea of justice is unlikely to be that of another.

Much of what is written at Justice in Conflict fits within the debate about the relationship between peace and justice. Understanding this relationship is an immensely difficult task and much of the literature and work done on the subject to date remains insufficient and unconvincing. Nevertheless, the difficulties in understanding the relationship between peace and justice is matched only by its importance.

I hope you enjoy the blog and contribute to the debates of justice in conflict.

-Mark Kersten

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