What is the most appropriate transitional justice model in addressing historical human rights abuses? A comparative analysis of the experiences of Australia and the Republic of Ireland

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Martin, Courtney
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Transitional justice as a restorative framework may be used to address past, endemic human rights abuses in both transitional and non-transitional contexts. Different forms of transitional justice mechanisms—including truth commissions and national public inquiry models used in conjunction with other truth and justice seeking measures—have been utilised globally in diverse geopolitical settings to expose publicly State wrongdoings, and officially document (new) national narratives. A critical finding of this research is the little scholarly comparative analysis available that assesses transitional justice mechanisms as they operate in culturally distinct contexts, and the related benefits. To arrive at these conclusions, like-inquiry models within the Anglosphere were assessed (namely, child abuse inquiries conducted in Australia and Ireland) in light of Chile’s ongoing efforts in the Latin American context to address its dictatorial history. Focus was given to the (statutorily conferred) powers of each child abuse inquiry, the use of testimony and related evidence, in addition to the retention and archival management of information and documents collected during each inquiry process. This piece postulates that analysing elements of mainstream transitional justice mechanisms in culturally distinctive contexts will more informatively and effectively heal countries torn apart by human rights atrocity. It is suggested this approach will better prevent the recurrence of systemic human rights violations, whether they occur in transitional or non-transitional settings, by fostering cross-cultural learning, appreciation and global dialogue within the realm of transitional justice.
Second semester University: National University of Ireland, Galway
transitional justice, human rights violations, child abuse, Australia, Ireland, restorative justice, memory, truth commissions, Chile