Heirs to a Broken Kingdom: Should Afghanistan Attempt Social Reconstruction through Transitional Justice?
- Transitional justice is a term that subsumes mechanisms through which societies deal with their violent pasts, the most prominent of which are amnesties, truth commissions, trials, lustration policy, and reparations. This thesis seeks to answer two important questions. First, have transitional justice mechanisms proven successful in promoting peace and stability in countries emerging from civil ... read morewar? Second, what are the lessons one can learn from studying post-civil war countries that have implemented transitional justice and what are the implications of these findings for Afghanistan? I find that amnesty, when used alone, is the least effective mechanism of transitional justice; that the mere presence of transitional justice is not associated with significantly higher levels of stability; that the higher number of transitional justice mechanisms corresponds with more stability; and that the level of power and autonomy of a transitional justice mechanism is correlated with the levels of peace and stability in the country. Examining the case studies of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi and Argentina, I confirm the claim that 1) countries where transitional justice has had higher level of power and autonomy enjoy higher levels of peace and stability than countries where transitional justice process has been weak, and 2) this power and autonomy can come from either international or domestic actors. Finally, I argue that a powerful transitional justice mechanism is not pragmatic in Afghanistan. In the short-term, the country should focus on building strong political institutions and a robust civil society, and only then should the country return to its quest for accountability for the past crimes.read less
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