Feminist Perspectives on Transitional Justice

This book offers some insights into women’s perspectives and feminist views on the topic of transitional justice or ‘justice in transition’. Bringing feminism into the conversation, expands the possibilities for a transformative justice approach after a period of conflict or insecurity, not by replacing it with feminist theory, but by broadening the scope and vision of the potential responses.

Martha Albertson Fineman, Estelle Zinsstag
Series on Transitional Justice
book | published | 1st edition
May 2013 | xvi + 362 pp.



ISBN 9781780681429

When you check this box, you will be subscribed to the series. If you subscribe to the series, each new volume will automatically be sent to you. You can only cancel your subscription after having received two consecutive volumes.



ISBN 9781839700682

When purchasing an E-book from Intersentia you get instant access to all available digital formats.

Available formats: Epub 


Truth-seeking mechanisms, international criminal law developments, and other forms of transitional justice have become ubiquitous in societies emerging from long years of conflict, instability and oppression and moving into a post-conflict, more peaceful era.

In practice, both top-down and bottom-up approaches to transitional justice are being formally and informally developed in places such as South Africa, Liberia, Peru, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and Northern Ireland. Many studies, conferences and debates have taken place addressing these developments and providing elaboration of theories relating to transition justice generally.

However, rarely have these processes been examined and critiqued through a feminist lens. The position of women, particularly their specific victimisation, typically has not been taken into account in any systematic manner. Seldom do commentators specifically consider whether the recently developed mechanisms for promoting peace and reconciliation will actually help the position of women in a society moving out of repression or conflict. This is unfortunate, since women’s issues are often overlooked and post-conflict societies, because they must rebuild, are ideally poised to introduce standards that would enable and ensure the active participation of the entire population, including women, in rebuilding a more stable, fair and democratic polity.

This book offers some insights into women’s perspectives and feminist views on the topic of transitional justice or ‘justice in transition’. Bringing feminism into the conversation allows us to expand the possibilities for a transformative justice approach after a period of conflict or insecurity, not by replacing it with feminist theory, but by broadening the scope and vision of the potential responses.

About this book

‘This book is essential for those whose main lines of research are transitional justice, gender, feminism and conflict resolution because it collects together different -perspectives on feminism and the transition to post-conflict times. We have the opportunity to deepen the connection between transitional justice and feminism, but also to reflect on the challenges that lie ahead. In this respect, some of the chapters offer interesting methodologies through which previous findings may be seen in a new light. Everything makes more sense when theory and practice are linked, something that this book does extremely well. The cases of Chile, Kyrgyzstan, Bosnia, Cuba, South Africa, the United States, and others enrich the analysis and help to re-define new strategies to ensure that the gender perspective is kept firmly in the forefront of transitional justice.’
Carolina Jimenez Sanchez in Revue Québécoise de droit international (2013) 291

‘[Feminist Perspectives on Transitional Justice] opens up fruitful avenues for further research.’
Rosemary Nagy in Canadian Journal of Women and the Law (2014) 446

‘[W]ith this collection of essays Fineman and Zinsstag have succeeded in exposing transitional justice methodologies to the scrutiny of feminism. This book is essential reading for those involved in developing or implementing transitional justice mechanisms, as it raises the critical discussions that must not be ignored if transitional justice is to positively impact the lives of women in transitioning societies.’
Grace A. Harbour in Journal of International Criminal Justice (2015)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents (p. 0)

Introduction: Feminist Perspectives on Transitional Justice (p. 1)

Martha Albertson Fineman


Chapter 1. International Law and Domestic Gender Justice, or Why Case Studies Matter (p. 7)

Chapter 2. Advancing a Feminist Analysis of Transitional Justice (p. 43)

Chapter 3. Feminist Perspectives on Extraordinary Justice (p. 63)

Chapter 4. Intersectionality: A Feminist Theory for Transitional Justice (p. 89)


Chapter 5. International Law, Crisis and Feminist Time (p. 115)

Chapter 6. Justice as Practised by Victims of Conflict: Post-World War II Movements as Sites of Engagement and Knowledge (p. 145)

Chapter 7. The Symbolic and Communicative Function of International Criminal Tribunals (p. 171)


Chapter 8. Sexual Violence Against Women in Armed Confl icts and Restorative Justice: An Exploratory Analysis (p. 185)

Chapter 9. Greensboro and Beyond: Remediating the Structural Sexism in Truth and Reconciliation Processes and Determining the Potential Impact and Benefits of Truth Processes in the United States (p. 215)

Chapter 10. Exclusion of Women in Post-Conflict Peace Processes: Transitional Justice in Northern Uganda (p. 255)

Chapter 11. Shifting Paradigms for State Intervention: Gender-Based Violence in Cuba (p. 275)


Chapter 12. Beauty and the Beast: Gender Integration and the Police in Post-Conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina (p. 289)

Chapter 13. The Parallel Processes of Law and Social Change: Gender Violence and Work in the United States and South Africa (p. 311)

Chapter 14. Neoliberalism’s Impact on Women: A Case Study in Creating Supply and Demand for Human Trafficking (p. 333)

About the Authors (p. 357)

Open access content

Parts of this book have been made open access. We make chapters open access because they are particularly topical, or provide a useful introduction to the subject. They may be available for a limited time or indefinitely. Some books are entirely and permanently open access.

Table of Contents (p. 0)
About the Authors (p. 357)

About the series:

Series on Transitional Justice

Countries emerging from long periods of authoritarian rule must often confront a legacy of gross human rights abuses perpetrated over many years. During the past two decades, these age-old issues have been termed “problems of transitional justice”, both by academics and policy makers around the world. Given the frequency with which these problems arise, as well as the complexity of the issues involved, it is striking that no book series has taken the issue of transitional justice as its point of focus.

The Series on Transitional Justice offers a platform for high-quality research within the rapidly growing field of transitional justice. This research is, of necessity, inter-disciplinary in nature, drawing from disciplines such as law, political science, history, sociology, criminology, anthropology and psychology, as well as from various specialised fields of study such as human rights, victimology and peace studies. It is furthermore international in outlook, drawing on the knowledge and experience of academics and other specialists in many different regions of the world.

The series is aimed at a variety of audiences who are either working or interested in fields such as crime and justice; human rights; humanitarian law and human security; conflict resolution and peace building. These audiences may include academics, researchers, students, policy makers, practitioners, non-governmental organisations and the media.

Editorial board:
- Prof. Stephan Parmentier (University of Leuven, Belgium)
- Prof. Jeremy Sarkin (NOVA University of Lisbon School of Law, Portugal) and
- Dr. Mina Rauschenbach (Université de Lausanne, Switzerland and University of Leuven, Belgium)

With a subscription to the series you enjoy a 15% discount on each volume.

More about this series