Righting Victim Participation in Transitional Justice
The question of how to serve justice, facilitate peaceful transitions and empower victims of past large-scale abuses is about as old as the field of transitional justice (TJ) itself. Increasingly, academics and practitioners are turning to participatory approaches as a promising way to make advances regarding these issues. An oft-cited benefit of victim participation in TJ processes is that it allegedly increases the legitimacy of these processes by rendering them more locally relevant, and that it empowers participants.
However, little is known about how to organize this participation in practice or under which conditions alleged benefits (for individual victims-participants or for society at large) are likely to materialize. As a result, participation is often organized in an 'add-victims-and-stir' way, with little critical reflection about potential unforeseen or long-term effects.