Book Review: Transitional Justice and Displacement
This book brings together two fields of humanitarian assistance that have until now occupied separate operational spheres. Transitional justice is concerned with responding to serious human rights violations through measures such as criminal prosecutions, truth-telling, reparations, institutional reform and/or commemoration. By ‘dealing with the past’, transitional justice policies seek to embed future peace and promote development. In contrast, responses to displacement primarily focus on the present context and immediate protection needs of refugees and other displaced populations. Despite the different goals and modes of operation, there are many ways in which these sectors could and should intersect, as this book makes clear. Refugees and other forced migrants have often fled serious human rights violations and share many concerns with populations who remained in their homes, yet they have rarely been included in transitional justice debates and policies. This book presents a reasonable and persuasive case that failure to consider displaced populations in transitional justice policies and policy-making is both illogical and likely to lead to unfair results, such as reintegration programmes which provide support to returning combatants but fail to consider returning refugees.