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Rebuilding societies where conflict has occurred is rarely a simple process. Where conflict has been accompanied by gross and systematic violations of human rights, the procedure becomes very controversial.
The traditional debate on "transitional justice" sought to balance justice, truth, accountability, peace, and stability. The appearance of impunity for past crimes undermines confidence in new democratic structures and casts doubt upon commitments to human rights. Yet the need to consolidate peace sometimes resulted in reluctance on the part of authorities —both local and international —to confront suspected perpetrators of human rights violations, especially when they are a part of a peace process. Experience in many regions of the world therefore suggested a tradeoff between peace and justice. But that is changing.
There is a growing consensus that some forms of justice and accountability are integral to —rather than in tension with —peace and stability. This volume considers whether we are truly going beyond the transitional justice debate. It brings together eminent scholars and practitioners with direct experience in some of the most challenging cases of international justice, and illustrates that justice and accountability remain complex, but not mutually exclusive, ideals.