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Transformative Justice: Charting a Path to Reconciliation

Daly, Erin
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) International Legal Perspective. 12: 73.

When nations move from oppressive and lawless regimes to democratic ones, they face myriad challenges. Perhaps the greatest challenge has to do with culture: if the values of the new government are to take root, the new leaders must also transform the culture in which they operate. As Daly notes, this aspect of transitional justice is implicit in the growing awareness of the role of the public at large in the commission of state oppression and violence. To make a successful transition, societies must change from ones that tolerate and even foster injustices and abuses to ones that respect human rights and democratic values and practices. Daly believes that insufficient attention has been given to the importance of transformation as an element in transitional justice. Therefore, Daly distinguishes transitional and transformative justice, explores the transformative opportunities in a new government’s response to past abuses, and argues that the classic dualism of prosecution and amnesty is inadequate. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Rwandan response to its recent atrocities are examined with respect to the issues of transforming society.


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