Transitional Justice & Historical Abuse

Professors Brandon Hamber and Patricia Lundy have published a new article on “Lessons from Transitional Justice? Toward a New Framing of a Victim-Centered Approach in the Case of Historical Institutional Abuse”. The article was published in the journal Victims and Offenders in April 2020.

The article critically examines transitional justice mechanisms to determine if historical abuse inquiries can learn from this field of practice. The article explores the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry which reported its findings in January 2017 as a vehicle for addressing what lessons might be learned or shared between the fields of transitional justice and investigations into historical abuse. Through a detailed analysis of empirical research with those that gave testimony to the Inquiry, including fourthly-three victims and Inquiry transcripts, the article explores to what extent the Inquiry was victim-centered, enabled victim participation (beyond giving testimony) and addressed victim needs. The article shows that many of the flaws of transitional justice mechanisms have been replicated when dealing with historical child abuse.

Drawing on lessons from transitional justice – both positive and negative – the article outlines five broad areas for consideration that could strengthen the victim-centered nature of approaches to dealing with the legacy of historical child abuse. The article concludes that addressing victims’ needs should be at the center and drive approaches and processes for both transitional justice and historical institutional abuse.

To request the article contact Professor Hamber. If you have journal access the article can be downloaded here.

Dealing with Past: Online Seminars

Despite the challenging current context debates about how to address Northern Ireland’s past continue. The Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) and INCORE, in partnership with Healing Through Remembering and the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, will be hosting an online seminar series to debate these important issues. This online seminar series will explore the Stormont House Agreement and dealing with the past in Northern Ireland and run for the remainder of the year.

Find out more and review the schedule of seminars.

Masculinities in Transition Publications

The issue of masculinities in conflict is a topic Professor Hamber has been working on for some years now. This work now explores the changing nature of masculinities in conflict, its relationship to transitional justice and how the Women, Peace and Security Agenda addresses issues of masculinity (or not). The Chair has published numerous articles on masculinities, and due to ongoing requests in this area below a list of these publications is now made available:

I have numerous requests for my writing and publications on masculinities, conflict and transition. So below I have compiled a list of published work to date:

  • Hamber, Brandon (2015). There Is a Crack in Everything: Problematising Masculinities, Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice. Human Rights Review, 17 (1). pp. 9-34 [Request Copy or Access in the Journal]

  • Gallagher, Elizabeth and Hamber, Brandon (2015). Addressing the psychosocial needs of young men: The case of Northern Ireland. In: Psychosocial Perspectives on Peacebuilding. Springer: New York, pp. 90-149 [More Information]

  • Hamber, Brandon and Gallagher, Elizabeth (2014) Ships passing in the night: psychosocial programming and macro peacebuilding strategies with young men in Northern Ireland. Intervention: Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas, 12 (1), 43-60 [Download]

  • Hamber, B. (2010). Masculinity and Transition: Crisis or Confusion in South Africa? Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, 5(3), 75-88 [Request Copy or Access in the Journal]

  • Hamber, B. & Palmary, I. (2009). Gender, Memorialization, and Symbolic Reparations. In R. Rubio-Marin (Ed.), The Gender of Reparations: Unsettling Sexual Hierarchies While Redressing Human Rights Violations (pp. 324-381). New York: Cambridge University Press [Request Copy]

  • Hamber, B. (2007). Masculinity and Transitional Justice: An Exploratory Essay. Peace Prints: South Asian Journal of Transitional Justice, 3(1), Autumn [Download]
  • Hamber, B. (2007). Masculinity and Transitional Justice: An Exploratory Essay. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 1(3), 375-390 [Request Copy or Access in the Journal]

  • Hamber, B. (2006). Where are the men in the battle for equality? Look South and Polity, 20 October 2006

  • Hamber, B. (2006, 12-13 October). ‘We must be very careful how we emancipate our women’: shifting masculinities in post-apartheid South Africa. Paper presented at the Re-Imagining Women’s Security: a Comparative Study of South Africa, Northern Ireland and Lebanon Round Table, New York [Download]

  • Hamber, B., Hillyard, P., Maguire, A., McWilliams, M., Robinson, G., Russell, D., et al. (2006). Discourses in Transition: Re-Imagining Women’s Security. International Relations, 20(4), 487-502 [Request Copy or Access in the Journal]

If you cannot access any of the above publications, please send a request and it will be forwarded.

Visit to Uganda

6th Institute for African Transitional Justice
6th Institute for African Transitional Justice

Refugee Law Project Team and Offices
Refugee Law Project Team and Offices

Outdoor exhibition at the The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre
Outdoor exhibition at the The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre

In May the Chair travelled to Uganda. The trip was aimed at continuing to forge links with the Refugee Law Project and specially to participate in The Institute for African Transitional Justice (IATJ) an annual event established in 2010, by the Refugee Law Project (RLP) with financial support by the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF).

The event brings together transitional justice experts from across the African continent and beyond, to develop timely, topical and context-appropriate African Transitional Justice theory and practice. The event brought together a total of 71 participants, from ten different countries across the globe including Spain, England, Northern Ireland, Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Germany, United States of America and host country Uganda.

Professor Hamber gave the keynote address to the conference which focused on theme “Too little too late – or too much too soon?- The Time and Timing of Transitional Justice”. The 6th IATJ was held in Gulu from 29th May to 03rd June 2016.

The event provided an important opportunity to better understand the long-term aftermath of the war that ostensibly ended in 2008.

On visiting some local communities in Northern Uganda it was clear that the issue of dealing with the disappeared, memories of the conflict and displacement, the consequences of physical and community destruction of resources, ongoing distrust of the current government to support local communities, and inter-community trust remain key issues.

Most impressive was the local mourning rituals that have been developed around dealing with the disappeared, work with male victims of sexual violence and also the Refugee Law Projects work in the new The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre (NMPDC).

The Chair aims to continue to work with groups and individuals in developing work in Uganda in the coming years.

Professor Hamber asked by the local community to plant a tree to remember the missing
Professor Hamber asked by the local community to plant a tree to remember the missing

Hague Policy Dialogue: “Making Transitional Justice Work”

I399dd96dfb45f0dfea4990cb335d3993mpunity Watch (IW), International Development Law Organization (IDLO), and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) organised an expert meeting entitled “Making Transitional Justice Work” from 25-27 November 2015 in The Hague. The meeting convened a highly qualified group of policy makers, practitioners and experts in the field of traditional justice to discuss and develop new ideas for effective and reinvigorated transitional justice policy in accordance with practical challenges. The meeting also focused on the practical guide on transitional justice to be used by the Dutch government and other policy-makers in the field. The Chair attended the meeting, participated and facilitated a session.

Policy Dialogue on Non-recurrence

The Chair attended a high level policy dialogue in Sweden this week, 14-15 October 2015. The mbh2wyxvh_400x400eeting focused  on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence latest report. The report focuses specifically on the issue of non-recurrence. The Special Rapporteur draws attention to different interventions that can impact of non-recurrence including the role of civil society, the spheres of culture and personal dispositions, as well as the role education reform, arts and culture, and trauma counselling. Professor Hamber focused his interventions and presentation on “Cultural Interventions in Divided Societies: Lessons from Northern Ireland”.