Regimes of Truth: The Microfoundations of Post-Conflict Justice
Loyle, Cyanne E.
Birnir, Johanna K.
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What is the effect of political exclusion on individual participation in national post-conflict justice institutions? To date, most of the post-conflict justice literature has examined these institutions (e.g. truth commissions, trials, reparations, etc.) on the national level, which prevents us from accounting for strategic motivation in justice selection, and from observing variation in implementing the process within a given country. I argue that there is a strategic incentive for post-conflict governments to frame conflict events in a politically advantageous way. This frame determines the mandate of the post-conflict justice process, which may or may not correspond with an individual's conflict experience. This strategic selection is important because it creates: 1) a possible disjuncture between what events an individual encountered, and what events the justice process addresses; and 2) reduced support, and perhaps even animosity, toward the justice effort put forward. Depending upon which victim and which violations are incorporated into the institution, post-conflict justice processes can exclude the experiences of certain groups and compel them to (in)action. To examine this process, I conducted over 80 interviews in post-conflict Rwanda and Northern Ireland. In addition, I used quantitative disaggregated data on both conflicts to both substantiate the experiences reported in the interviews, and pair these experiences with the focus of the existing post-conflict justice process.