The paradox of transition in conflicted democracies

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Colm Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Transitional Justice discourses have largely focused on "paradigmatic transitions." Such analyses emphasize dealing with the human rights abuses committed by prior authoritarian or illegitimate regimes. But, authoritarian entities may not be the only kind of states with a legacy of serious and systematic rights-violations. A similar legacy may manifest in broadly democratic states that have experienced prolonged political violence. These "conflicted democracies" present a number of paradoxes, which come to the fore when peace and transitional political process are agreed, thereby providing unique challenges in political and legal transformation. This article explores these paradoxes and challenges. It further draws out a more nuanced understand of the transitional process by conceptually separating war/peace transitions from illiberal polity /democracy transitions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-213
Number of pages42
JournalHuman Rights Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005


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