• Amelie Lisa Frisch
The field of transitional justice, which describes a society’s efforts to overcome the burden of a violent conflict, is increasingly criticized for being too generic and for ignoring national contexts. Local initiatives therefore gain importance in the design of governmental transitional justice measures such as reparations for victims, criminal prosecution and truth telling. In this thesis local civil society organisations’ strategies to influence governmental transitional justice measures regarding victims’ justice were analysed. The civil society organisations’ approaches to justice, their obstacles in achieving victims’ justice as well as their perception of the corresponding governments’ positions were examined. The ‘Association of the war wounded of El Salvador, Heroes of November 1989’ and the Ugandan non-governmental organisation ‘African Youth Initiative Network’ were taken as case studies. Interviews were conducted on the organisations’ work for victims’ justice in the two post-conflict societies which was complemented with secondary data. The theoretical framework of this paper includes the theory of constructivism to explain how the organisations influence their respective governments and Laplante’s justice continuum theory to categorize their justice understandings. Further, concepts of transitional justice were presented. Background information was given on both El Salvador’s and Uganda’s civil wars as well as on existing transitional justice measures in the two countries. These were then followed by the analysis of the corresponding organisation’s work. The comparative analysis of the two civil society organisations showed several similarities as well as differences in the organisations’ strategies to achieve victims’ justice. While both civil society organisations use advocacy and dialogue as strategies to influence the governmental transitional justice measures on the local, national and international level, they both adapt their actions and demands to local contexts. The two organisations demonstrated several different justice approaches in their organisational goals and their demands to the government, and face specific historical and country-specific challenges. Both the Ugandan and the Salvadorian government were mainly perceived as facilitators of the civil society organisations’ participation in the transitional justice process. It could be concluded that even though civil society organisations have similar strategies to influence national transitional justice measures, their approaches, challenges and demands adapt to their local contexts. Differences are apparent due to the government’s previous transitional justice measures, its role in the conflict and the countries’ historical backgrounds.
SpecialisationLatin American Studies
Publication date30 May 2018
Number of pages70
ID: 280138876