Introduction: New horizons: Transitional justice in the Asia-Pacific

Renée Jeffery, Hun Joon Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript

4 Citations (Scopus)


The question of how the human rights violations of previous regimes and past periods of conflict ought to be addressed is one of the most pressing concerns facing governments and policy makers today. New democracies and states in the fragile post-conflict peace-settlement phase are confronted by the need to make crucial decisions about whether to hold perpetrators of human rights violations accountable for their actions and, if so, the mechanisms they ought to employ to best achieve that end. Since the 1980s, post-transitional states have increasingly opted in favour of accountability for human rights violations and have used a wide range of measures from prosecutions and punishment to truth telling, lustration of police and security forces, reparations, and judicial reforms, to reconciliation processes, apologies, forgiveness ceremonies, exhumations and reburials, memorialization projects, traditional and indigenous justice practices, and other guarantees of non-repetition. In doing so, they have contributed to the emergence of what has variously been termed ‘the justice cascade’ or as a ‘revolution in accountability.’ The purpose of this book is to provide an in-depth analysis of the practices, processes, and problems of transitional justice in the Asia-Pacific region. Although the practice of transitional justice is global in its reach, scholarship concerned with theorizing and analyzing the practice has focused on cases in Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Europe. The reasons for this are largely historical. During the 1980s and 1990s large numbers of states in Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Europe experienced transitions to democracy and, in doing so, pioneered efforts to hold state officials accountable for past human rights violations. For example, exemplary truth commissions were established in the 1980s and 1990s in Argentina and South Africa, and foreign and international criminal prosecutions were carried out in response to human rights violations that occurred in Chile, the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda throughout the 1990s. Although the use of transitional justice mechanisms to address past human rights violations has been similarly prevalent in the Asia-Pacific, however, this region has attracted decidedly less scholarly attention than Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransitional Justice in the Asia-Pacific
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9781139628914
ISBN (Print)9781107040373
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2014.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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