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Citation Information

Type Report
Title Transitional Justice: Views from the Ground on How Afghanistan Fares
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL https://areu.org.af/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/1622E-Transitional-Justice-Views-from-the-Ground-on-H​ow-Afghanistan-Fares.pdf
Transitional justice is defined as the “range of processes and mechanisms associated with society’s
attempts to come to terms with the legacy of large-scale abuses to ensure accountability, serve
justice, and achieve reconciliation.”1
The concept of transitional justice renews the trust between
the population and the state, trust that is built as the prerequisite to both economic and social
development. The main objective of this paper is to identify the possibilities (if any) of linking
the current peace-building agenda with transitional justice policies. In particular, the study seeks
the views of Afghans on their preferred transitional justice policies, and whether these policies
should be a precursor or linked to the peace process. Further, the research specifically seeks
the views on whether (if any) type of compromises should be made in the current context.
In particular, it asks across five provinces whether accountability for past human rights abuses
remains a priority.
A mixture of qualitative research methods was used, including assessing the perceptions and
expectations of the study sites regarding transitional justice mechanisms and the issues of the five
provinces included in the study. An extensive desk review was conducted before the collection of
primary data. The data were based on extensive field research with focus group discussions (FGDs)
and two rounds of in-depth interviews (IDIs) with the aid of semi-structured interview guides. The
selection criteria of the five provinces were based on the following considerations: how conflict
affects each province, factors such as levels of sympathy for armed groups, and confidence in
the national reconciliation process. With the abovementioned criteria, the following sites were
selected: Kabul, Bamyan, Nangarhar, Uruzgan, and Baghlan.
The majority of the FGD participants, of both sexes and in all provinces, recognised that
transitional justice is an idea related to addressing the past, although none of the participants
had a detailed understanding of the term “transitional justice.” The FGD participants across all
provinces expressed a clear understanding that the abuses of the past continue to affect the
present and shape the future, and that impunity for past atrocities was fuelling new cycles of
violence. A small number of FGD participants across all five provinces noted that the failure to
address the past and provide justice for earlier atrocities had broader implications related to poor
governance in the current context. The informants attributed the deteriorating security situation,
ongoing violence, and continued corruption to the failure to hold individuals accountable for their
illegal behaviour in the past. Across all provinces, there was an agreement among the majority of
female and male FGD participants that the past should be addressed.

Related studies

Echavez, RC, WL Pilongo, A Jayakoody, HSA Noorzai, Michaela Markova, and Superva Narasimhaiah. Transitional Justice: Views from the Ground on How Afghanistan Fares. 2016.
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