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What we know about transitional justice : survey and experimental evidence
Political Psychology
  • Roman DAVID, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
  • transitional justice,
  • truth commissions,
  • international tribunals,
  • lustration,
  • reparation,
  • apology

Transitional justice encompasses a variety of measures devised to overcome legacies of gross human rights violations and other historical injustices. The spread of international criminal tribunals, truth commissions, inclusive alternatives to purges, and apologies represents one of the most fascinating intellectual developments in legal and social studies. What do we know about the social efficacy of transitional justice measures? This article reviews 25 studies that provided quantitative evidence about the effects of transitional justice gathered at the individual-level analysis and situates them in the context of other studies on major transitional justice interventions: truth commissions, international criminal tribunals, lustration (vetting), reparation, and apologies. The article concludes that (1) transitional justice matters in dealing with the past; (2) justice is understood as a social-political category rather than a legal category; (3) past experiences affect attitudes to transitional justice as well as its outcomes; (4) different victims have needs for different transitional justice measures; (5) the outcomes of transitional justice depend on its context and implementation; (6) truth-sharing may produce both positive and negative effects; and (7) reconciliatory measures may produce positive social effects.

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Copyright © 2017 International Society of Political Psychology. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.
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Citation Information
David, R. (2017). What we know about transitional justice: Survey and experimental evidence. Political Psychology, 38(Supplement S1), 151–177. doi: 10.1111/pops.12395