chapter  9
12 Pages

Transitional justice in Bosnia- Herzegovina: understanding accountability, reparation and justice for victims NICHOLAS A . JONES , STEPHAN PARMENTIER AND

Following a period of mass atrocity and violations of human rights, the damage resulting from the crimes committed impacts the entirety of the society and particularly the victim/survivors in a far-reaching and exceptionally complex manner. During this time of societal evolution, the emerging state is faced with many questions in regard to the processes and mechanisms employed in addressing these dark times. Despite repeated examples of confronting these atrocities over the past few decades, “the world community is still left with questions about the validity and utility of the mechanisms that we have initiated” (Weinstein et al. 2010: 28). Furthermore, as noted by Valinãs, Parmentier and Weitekamp (2009: 1), the process of transitional justice rarely accounts for the “views and expectations of the local population”, instead being directed by elites that have historically shaped legislation as well as justice policies and practices. The possibility exists that these elites are too distanced from the very root of the experiences of those they seek to help, which may in part provide an explanation for Shaw and Waldorf ’s (2010: 2) contention that transitional justice has come under increased scrutiny by the victims it is supposed to serve. This chapter addresses two key questions from the perspectives of persons who were victimized during the Bosnia-Herzegovina conflict. First, are the interventions employed where transitional justice is undertaken meeting the needs of victims of the mass crimes committed during the conflict? Second, what factors impact victims’ perceptions? We present the results of our analyses after providing a short review of the transitional justice literature and conclude with a discussion on how we can use the experiences of victims to inform legal reform, practice and research.