1st Edition

The Peacemaker’s Paradox Pursuing Justice in the Shadow of Conflict

By Priscilla Hayner Copyright 2018
    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    Expanding from her path-breaking work in Unspeakable Truths, Priscilla Hayner focuses on a new challenge in The Peacemaker’s Paradox: the age-old problem of negotiating peace after a war of atrocities. Drawing on her first-hand involvement in peace processes and interviews from the frontlines of peace talks, the author recounts many heretofore-untold stories of how justice has been negotiated, with great difficulty, and what this tells us for the future. Those with the most power to stop a war are the least likely to submit to justice for their crimes, but the demand for justice only grows louder. She also asks how the intervention of an international tribunal, such as the International Criminal Court, changes how a war is fought and the possibility of brokering peace. The Peacemaker’s Paradox looks far and wide, from Gaddafi’s Libya to the FARC talks in Colombia, to provide an unparalleled exploration of these thorniest of issues.

    A combination of interview-based reporting and political analysis, The Peacemaker’s Paradox brings clarity to a field fraught with both legal and practical difficulties.

    PART I Peace and Justice in Comparative Perspective

    CHAPTER 1 The Problem

    CHAPTER 2 The Peace and Justice Debate

    CHAPTER 3 How Justice is Negotiated at the Peace Table

    CHAPTER 4 After a Peace Agreement

    CHAPTER 5 The Impact of International Courts on Peace Negotiations

    CHAPTER 6 International Justice and Deterrence

    CHAPTER 7 A Prosecutor’s Discretion in Contexts of Conflict

    CHAPTER 8 Acting in the Interests of Justice

    CHAPTER 9 Unraveling the Paradox

    PART II Case Studies

    CHAPTER 10 Sierra Leone

    CHAPTER 11 Liberia

    CHAPTER 12 Uganda

    CHAPTER 13 Libya

    CHAPTER 14 Colombia


    Priscilla Hayner has worked in the field of transitional justice for twenty-five years, the last ten years focused on the challenge of justice in contexts of peace negotiations. She co-founded the International Center for Transitional Justice in 2001, working as program director and head of its Geneva office. Her first book, Unspeakable Truths: Transitional Justice and the Challenge of Truth Commissions, helped to define that field. She has served as human rights advisor in a number of peace negotiations, from Kenya in 2008 to the recent talks in Colombia. In 2017 she was appointed to the United Nations Standby Team of Senior Mediation Advisors. She is based in New York City.

    Praise for The Peacemaker's Paradox

    Finding a peaceful end to a bitter, deeply-rooted conflict can seem an impossible mission. Addressing the painful crimes of a conflict makes this even more difficult. As Priscilla Hayner makes clear, every society must follow its own path, but this eminently honest and thought-provoking work should greatly help mediators to work through this set of very real, and very difficult, dilemmas.

    George J. Mitchell, Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, and Special Envoy for Middle East Peace

    The Peacemaker’s Paradox illustrates the dilemma faced by the human rights community during peace negotiations, both in finding a place at the table and ensuring accountability for human rights violations. Those undertaking peace talks often argue that peace should come before justice. The many case studies in this book, from Sierra Leone to Colombia, not only confront this notion, but also challenge human rights advocates to recognize the difficulties in negotiating justice and protecting the rights of victims. The final chapter on the Colombian peace process in particular offers hope, showing the importance of including victims and civil society in these discussions.

    Yasmin Sooka, Former Commissioner of the South African and Sierra Leonean Truth Commissions

    Priscilla Hayner’s The Peacemaker’s Paradox addresses the delicate balance between peace and justice through a rigorous examination of the inherent tensions and external factors that impact peacemaking. Her focus on lived experiences and the need for strategic vision makes it an insightful work and an invaluable tool for all those pursuing peace and justice.

    Kofi Annan, Seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

    The Peacemaker’s Paradox is beyond excellent – rich with insight and solid advice for anyone involved in peace negotiations. Hayner’s formidable experience – combined with her clinical approach in dissecting past peace agreements and her thorough attention to the arguments posed by the stakeholders involved in peace negotiations – explains how (and why) she has succeeded in writing what is effectively a peacemaker’s guidebook.

    Michael G. Karnavas, International Criminal Law Blog

    What emerges from Hayner’s predominantly empirical work is a crucial theoretical lesson: No two conflicts of world politics are completely alike, and each attempt to tackle a crisis requires a tailor-made approach that pays heed to the individual character of the respective conflict. While Hayner arrives at this insight through a discussion of the peace vs justice dilemma, this lesson is equally relevant in the context of R2P or the Just War Tradition.

    Christof Royer,  Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding