International Politics
  1. Post-Conflict Human Rights & Transitional Justice
International Politics

Post-Conflict Human Rights & Transitional Justice

Book coverIosif Kovras investigates how countries emerging from conflict and authoritarianism deal with the violent legacy of the past, with particular emphasis on the problem of enforced disappearances. His most recent book, Grassroots Activism and the Evolution of Transitional Justice published in 2017 (Cambridge University Press), explains how the mobilization of the families of the disappeared has shaped landmark developments in contemporary transitional justice policies, including the global diffusion of truth commissions, the evolution of a robust international legal framework on human rights, and the use of forensic tools in human rights investigations.

The families of the disappeared have long struggled to uncover the truth about their missing relatives. In so doing, their mobilization has shaped central transitional justice norms and institutions, as this groundbreaking work demonstrates. The book combines a new global database with the systematic analysis of four challenging case studies – Lebanon, Cyprus, South Africa and Chile – each representative of a different approach to transitional justice. These studies reveal how variations in transitional justice policies addressing the disappeared occur, explaining why victims’ groups in some countries are caught in silence while others bring perpetrators to account. Conceiving of transitional justice as a dynamic process, it traces the different phases of truth recovery in post-transitional societies, giving substance not only to the why but also to the when and how of this kind of campaign against impunity. This book is essential reading for all those interested in the development of transitional justice and human rights.

His earlier book (2014) explored why post-conflict countries remain silent about the violent past, and why do the same societies often decide to deal with these human rights violations, although with a significant delay. Similarly, he has (co)authored articles exploring the role of apologies, the attitudes towards transitional justice, the role of exhumations and post-transitional justice.

More about this research

  • School of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Related academic: Dr Iosif Kovras
  • Topics: Transitional justice