Skip to main content


Back to Resources

Transitional Justice and Security Sector Reform

31 December, 2005



Table of Contents


List of Acronyms

1. Transitional Justice and Security Sector Reform
1.1. Transitional Justice
1.2. Security Sector Reform
1.3. Security Sector Governance
1.4. Crosscutting Issues

2. The Legal Dimension
2.1. Recent Developments in International Law
2.2. Trends and Obligations

3. Prosecution
3.1. Domestic Prosecution
3.2. Hybrid/Mixed Courts
3.3. Challenges of Prosecution
3.4. Amnesties ― A Problematic Alternative
3.5. Lessons Identified

4. Truth-seeking: Truth Commissions
4.1. Truth Commissions
4.2. Contentious Concepts
4.3. Political and Legal Issues
4.4. Lessons Identified

5. Reconciliation and Traditional Informal Justice Mechanisms
5.1. Traditional Informal Justice Mechanisms
5.2. Challenges: In Need of Reform
5.3. Practical and Cultural Aspects
5.4. TIJM and Formal Judicial Systems
5.5. Lessons Identified

6. Reparations
6.2. Facilitating and Impeding Factors
6.3. Lessons Identified

7. Vetting and Lustration
7.1. Enhancing Institutional Reform
7.2. Improving Trust
7.3. Due Process
7.4. Deterrence
7.5. Conclusion

8. Concluding Remarks: Key Challenges

9. Selected Bibliography


Transitional justice has received ever more attention since the end of the Cold War; new mechanisms have been elaborated, older ones enhanced and developed, all increasingly promoted.

The aim is to avoid reoccurrence of human rights violations, establish a form of accountability and enhance reconciliation of war-torn nations. However, the advantages and disadvantages with all transitional mechanisms vary and are influenced by numerous factors in post-conflict society. Crucially, the link between transitional justice and security sector reform, although acknowledged, has not been sufficiently explored. They can mutually affect each other in a number of ways, which can have both positive and negative impacts upon long-term reform and sustainable peace.

This paper will establish the link between transitional justice and security sector reform and how they can interact in a post-conflict setting, both strengthening and weakening each other. Moreover, it will evaluate the challenges faced by transitional justice mechanisms as well as their merits in obtaining the objectives of transitional justice, whilst arguing for a complementary approach to transitional justice.