The Role of Victims in Transitional Justice: Agency, Cooption and Exclusion (Review Essay)

Grewal, Kiran. 2019. The Role of Victims in Transitional Justice: Agency, Cooption and Exclusion (Review Essay). International Journal of Transitional Justice, 13(3), pp. 608-619. ISSN 1752-7716 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Over the last seven years I have been working as a human rights researcher and practitioner in Sri Lanka, a context where debates about transitional justice (TJ) have been contentious and sustained. In this light I enthusiastically accepted to review the three books that are the subject of this essay. Their focus on the role and responses of victims was of particular interest as I watched the unfolding protests across Sri Lanka, in which families of the disappeared and villagers whose land remained under military occupation took to the streets. In what follows I will briefly summarize some of what I consider to be the key contributions each book makes to the field of TJ, through the lens of disappearance, memorialization and exhumation. I will then turn to reflecting on some of the overarching questions these books and my own current research raise for TJ scholarship and practice. In particular I will focus on the temporality of TJ, the concept of ‘truth’ and the relationship between ethical humanitarianism, human rights and the politics of subaltern populations.

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transitional justice

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1 February 2019Accepted
8 July 2019Published

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07 Dec 2020 10:28

Last Modified:

07 Dec 2020 10:28

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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