Ethics & International Affairs Volume 15.1 (Spring 2001): Articles: Peaceful Transition and Retrospective Justice: Some Reservations (Response to Juan Méndez) [Abstract]

May 4, 2001

Although retribution for past human rights violations has its place in post-conflict processes of transition and reconciliation, there are many present and foreseeable circumstances in which the case for immunity, amnesty, or sheer forbearance is significantly stronger than Juan E. Méndez's approach to this question can admit. Disagreement about justice is an ineradicable part of political life and a leading cause of violent conflict. Reconciliation cannot always presuppose or await a shared moral understanding; frequently enough, it requires an agreement to disagree, even about fundamental principles -- at least with respect to their retrospective application. Where the parties to violent conflict have seen fit to set aside issues of retrospective justice in the service of peace and reconciliation, outsiders, who do not bear the costs of conflict and instability, should second-guess that decision only with the greatest reluctance. They should not look to international human rights standards and mechanisms for a universal solution.

To read or purchase the full text of this article, click here.

You may also like

AUG 2, 2022 Journal

Ethics & International Affairs Volume 36.2 (Summer 2022)

The editors of Ethics & International Affairs are pleased to present the Summer 2022 issue of the journal! The highlight of this issue is a roundtable organized ...

MAR 15, 2022 Journal

Ethics & International Affairs Volume 36.1 (Spring 2022)

The highlight of this issue is a roundtable organized by Jesse Kirkpatrick on moral injury, trauma, and war, featuring contributions by Jesse Kirkpatrick, Daniel Rothenberg, ...

JAN 4, 2022 Journal

Ethics & International Affairs Volume 35.4 (Winter 2021)

The issue features a book symposium organized by Michael Blake on Anna Stilz's "Territorial Sovereignty," with contributions from Adom Getachew; Christopher Heath Wellman; and Michael ...

Not translated

This content has not yet been translated into your language. You can request a translation by clicking the button below.

Request Translation