Families of the Missing: A Test for Contemporary Approaches to Transitional Justice, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Families of the Missing

A Test for Contemporary Approaches to Transitional Justice, 1st Edition

By Simon Robins


280 pages | 12 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415831024
pub: 2015-01-07
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pub: 2013-05-16
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Families of the Missing interrogates the current practice of transitional justice from the viewpoint of the families of those disappeared and missing as a result of conflict and political violence. Studying the needs of families of the missing in two contexts, Nepal and Timor-Leste, the practice of transitional justice is seen to be rooted in discourses that are alien to predominantly poor and rural victims of violence, and that are driven by elites with agendas that diverge from those of the victims. In contrast to the legalist orientation of the global transitional justice project, victims do not see judicial process as a priority. Rather, they urgently seek an answer concerning the fate of the missing, and to retrieve human remains. As important are livelihood issues where families are struggling to cope with the loss of breadwinners and seek support to ensure economic security. Although rights are the product of a discourse that claims to be global and universal, needs are necessarily local and particular, the product of culture and context. And it is from this perspective that this volume seeks both to understand the limitations of transitional justice processes in addressing the priorities of victims, and to provide the basis of an emancipatory victim-centred approach to transitional justice.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction; Chapter 2: Victim needs and transitional justice; Chapter 3: Nepal and Timor-Leste: The politics of transition; Chapter 4: Needs of families of the Missing in Nepal: Still seeking a process; Chapter 5: Timor-Leste’s transition and the Missing: A victim-centred evaluation; Chapter 6: Addressing the needs of families of the Missing: A critique of current practice in transition; Chapter 7:Beyond prescriptive approaches: contextualising a victim-centred transitional justice; Chapter 8: Towards victim-centred transitional justice; Chapter 9: Appendix: The Missing in Law

About the Author

Simon Robins is a humanitarian practitioner and researcher with an interest in transitional justice, humanitarian protection and human rights. He has worked both in the field and HQ as a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross and with a range of other organisations. He is an Associate at the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit at the University of York.

About the Series

Transitional Justice

The study of transitional justice has emerged as one of the most diverse and intellectual exciting developments in the social sciences in the last two decades. From its origins in human rights activism and comparative political science the field is increasingly characterised by its geographic and disciplinary breadth. Routledge’s Transitional Justice series publishes innovative work across a range of disciplines working on transitional justice related topics: including law, sociology, criminology, psychology, anthropology, political science, development studies and international relations.

The series includes titles which address larger theoretical questions on transitional justice, including the intersection of notions such as justice, truth, accountability, impunity and the construction of transitional justice knowledge. It also contains critical and theoretically informed empirical work on the workings of institutions such as truth commissions, community based reconciliation, victim empowerment, ex-combatant demobilisation, or regional discussions on practical programmes in particular areas. Finally, the series covers the legal aspects of transitional justice; although, avoiding dry, overly technical or dull legal texts, it specialises in a style of legal scholarship that reflects the energy and vitality of this exciting field.

For further details on the series please contact the Series Editor.

Kieran McEvoy

Professor of Law and Transitional Justice

School of Law

Queens University Belfast


44 (0) 2890973873

[email protected]

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / International
LAW / Jurisprudence
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Violence in Society