Summer 2008 (22.2) Review Essay

Expanding the Boundaries of Transitional Justice

Justice as Prevention: Vetting Public Employees in Transitional Societies, Alexander Mayer-Rieckh and Pablo de Greiff, eds. (New York: Social Science Research Council, 2007), 548 pp., $35 paper.

What Happened to the Women? Gender and Reparations for Human Rights Violations, Ruth Rubio-Marin, ed. (New York: Social Science Research Council, 2007), 334 pp., $30 paper.

Transitional justice is a field of ever-expanding scope. While the character of the field remains broadly the same—defined by an interaction of national and international political concerns, as well as the core tension of dealing with the human rights abuses perpetrated by a previous regime—transitional justice is moving beyond its early preoccupation with criminal trials or the alternative truth-commission format. The field has expanded over the past few decades to encompass issues of legal reform, the reshaping of political structures, minority and group rights, reparations, vetting, and cross-cutting questions about gender parity in societies experiencing profound change.

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