PODCAST | ‘Doing Justice’ Post-Conflict: Subaltern Engagements with Transitional Justice Mechanisms

This is part of the Democracy Futures seminar series


Since its establishment in the 1990s the field of transitional justice has seen a rapid expansion. Extensive literature has been generated by scholars, advocates and policy-makers about the best way to respond to past atrocity and secure more peaceful, democratic futures. Yet within these debates there is a striking omission. While many normative claims are made regarding the benefits (or detriments) of transitional justice processes, few engage directly and in any depth with the populations in whose name these initiatives are done. How do marginalised groups and individuals find and make use of the mechanisms of transitional justice? What spaces are opened up for them? What debates, actions or identities are potentially foreclosed? In this paper, drawing on examples from two recent post-conflict sites (Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka) and focusing on women’s rights activists, Dr Kiran Grewal will explore the relationship between transitional justice processes and subaltern struggles for justice and social change.


kiran-grewal-headshotDr Kiran Grewal is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Justice, Australian Catholic University. Prior to this she was the research manager on a three-year EU-funded torture prevention project with the Sri Lankan and Nepali security forces. Kiran’s research interests include postcolonial and feminist legal theory and the relationship between international law and social activism. She is the author of the forthcoming book, The Socio-Political Practice of Human Rights (Routledge 2016) and is currently working on two new projects: one on forms of subaltern politics in post-conflict Sri Lanka and the other entitled, “The everyday life of human rights law”.