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Dawn L. Rothe and Christopher W. Mullins

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Building Justice After War: The Use of Multiple Post-Conflict Justice Mechanisms

In the region of Sub-Saharan Africa, 133 conflicts have occurred since the end of World War II. Only 31% of those had some sort of mechanism put in place either to end the conflict (e.g., peace agreement stipulations) or to stabilize the peace (e.g., truth commissions, amnesties, disarmament-demobilization-restoration programs, or tribunals). In many cases where post-conflict modalities did occur, multiple mechanisms were instituted. Yet scholarship on these programs tends to examine only the effects of a single mechanism, without reference to others. This ignores potential synergies and interactions between mechanisms. The authors discuss two widely known conflicts: Sierra Leone and Rwanda. The article begins with a brief overview of the conflict in Sierra Leone and is followed by a discussion of the multiple mechanisms that were put in place post-conflict. Then comes a similar overview of the Rwandan genocide and the multiple mechanisms instituted post-conflict to address the vast numbers of victims and perpetrators. The authors then evaluate the various institutionalized modalities for both countries, concluding with some of the major themes that appear to facilitate either their success or failure.

post-conflict Sierra Leone, Rwanda, truth commissions, amnesties, disarmament-demobilization-restoration programs, tribunals

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 35, No. 3 (2008-09): 87-106