Source: (2005) Paper presented at the Symposium on Restorative Justice and Peace in Colombia, Cali, 9-12 February.

The aftermath of conflict leaves a range of legal and political issues to be resolved that relate to justice. It appears to be common ground amongst many of those with practical experience and theoretical knowledge about peace processes and international law that some "just" closure is necessary before a conflict can be regarded as finally over. In this context, "justice" also tends to imply "truth" that is a full disclosure of all the "crimes" committed by combatants during the conflict. This idea is summed up in the phrase: "Before a new leaf can be turned, the old leaf must be read…" Unfortunately, there is no consensus, at least in Northern Ireland, on the character of the justice or the truth that may be appropriate to close the conflict. The fundamental problem is that there is no agreed legal interpretation of the nature of the conflict. Furthermore, in so far as the conflict was waged by the State within a certain legal framework, it is inconsistent with the reconciliatory measures appropriate to a peace process. We will elaborate on these points. (excerpt)


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