Departmental Bulletin Paper A Critical Note on “Hypercritical” Studies of Transitional Justice

Ohgushi, Kazuo

(79)  , pp.83 - 121 , 2015-03-31 , 国際基督教大学
Transitional justice refers to a set of judicial and non-judicial measures to deal with the legacies of massive human rights abuses committed during armed conflict or under state repression. Transitional justice has gained importance over the past thirty years, as more and more countries adopt some combination of transitional justice measures; there is also a concomitant growth of research and publications on the subject.A distinct brand of critics of transitional justice emerged around the early 2000s, and they are growing in number. These authors criticize what they consider to be the mainstream transitional justice model from a leftist/progressive stance, and often denounce it as an imperialistic imposition of Western powers. This article critically engages these authors.The first section briefly introduces this brand of criticism, which the present article tentatively labels “hypercritical” studies. The second section points to the flaws in this literature. These flaws concern logic, views of relevant actors, and alternatives or the lack thereof. The third section examines the increasingly common criticism that the current transitional justice does not address structural violence. This section argues that, although it is necessary to grapple with structural violence, it should be done so in its own right and not as part of transitional justice measures. The fourth section questions the argument that denies the distinction between perpetrators and victims as a basis for opposing the punishment of perpetrators. This section finds the line of argument logically unsound and morallyobjectionable, and points to a double standard in judging transitional justice against ordinary criminal justice. The conclusion underscores the need for explicitly highlighting the wrongness of the abuses committed, a perspective usually lacking in hypercritical analyses.

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