Consequences of judging in transitional justice courts

Hollie Nyseth Brehm, Laura C. Frizzell, Christopher Uggen, Evelyn Gertz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Research has found that participation in transitional justice (TJ) is associated with increased social capital and decreased well-being. This article extends this scholarship by examining how TJ mechanisms affect the social capital and well-being of the people who implement them via interviews with 135 Rwandan gacaca court judges. In terms of well-being, judges discuss pride and confidence yet also highlight stress and trauma. In terms of social capital, many judges are now mediators and local leaders, though numerous judges have also experienced grudges from the families of those they sentenced. These negative consequences were particularly prominent among judges with more authority.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1169-1186
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 5 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the US National Science Foundation (award number 1626123, 2016-2020); the Mershon Center of International Security Studies and the Ohio State University Sociology Department.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s) 2021.


  • Genocide
  • Judgeship
  • Rwanda
  • Social capital
  • Transitional justice
  • Well-being


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