This research project is no longer actively updated or managed.
Research Project

Critical Transitional Justice

Critical Transitional Justice was a project under the Justice and Accountability theme with a focus on critical evaluation of how justice and accountability is renegotiated and adapted in specific contexts in Africa with different histories and moral economies. 

The sub-theme focused on understanding the frictions and adaptions that emerge in the implementation of transitional justice mechanisms from a critical perspective that is African-centered and decolonial.

It included several projects on transitional justice that members from the centre are involved in which include: The politics of the ICC (International Criminal Court) intervention in Kenya using a critical and everyday analysis by CGHR researcher Dr Njoki Wamai and critical perspectives of the proposed transitional justice processes in Somalia by Phd student Surer Mohammed. 

The critical transitional justice project also specifically examined the challenges faced in implementing the transitional justice mechanisms in Kenya and Somalia. This project focused on the failures of the ICC within the complex interplay of the politics of contested citizenship, resulting post-election violence in Kenya. The Kenya project was a continuation of Njoki’s doctoral research which contributed to critical literature on the ICC after researching on the everyday politics of intervention. The project concluded that transitional justice mechanisms like the ICC in Kenya and indeed many post-violence spaces are understood as sites for political contestation as opposed to impartial, apolitical mechanisms that can end impunity as advanced by transitional justice advocates.  

At a time when the ICC was under criticism especially by African political elites for its selective bias, this research project was important in providing evidence on victims’ and citizens’ understanding and agency during the implementation of transitional justice programmes at the everyday level. The complexities and frictions presented in the Kenya project provided new evidence on the agency of local actors in undermining the ICC. At a time when the ICC was facing legitimacy challenges in Africa this research illustrated the effects of the ICC interventions beyond The Hague and introduced everyday vernacular discourses of transitional justice.