Transitional justice

This report examines the evolution of the Taliban case for armed struggle and the minimal adjustments Taliban rhetoricians made to cope with the impending political change in Afghanistan in 2014. It considers how the Taliban might make a case for peace, should they take the political decision to engage in negotiations. 

The Taliban movement commands the loyalty of thousands of Afghans and applies resources and men to the pursuit of political objectives, guided by doctrine and inspired by rhetoric. Taliban rhetoric consists of religious and historical references, narratives of recent events, and guidance for Taliban sympathizers. The rhetoric asserts that the Taliban are engaged in a righteous jihad aimed at establishing a divinely ordered Islamic system in Afghanistan. Taliban doctrine focuses on internal affairs and in particular on maintaining cohesiveness. The Taliban are ruthless in enforcing their doctrine of obedience to the amir, or leader. The movement has retained a narrow social base, and its power is concentrated in the hands of mullahs from the Kandahari Pashtun tribes. Any project to build a plural Afghanistan is likely to include an appeal to the Taliban or the constituency they have mobilized. The Taliban’s own attempts to regain power rest on a negation of pluralism, rejection of a popular mandate, and assertion of the divine right vested in their Islamic emirate. A Taliban rhetoric of peace would require addressing the position of the Taliban’s amir, peace as a desirable state, the need for cohesiveness and unity in support of peace, celebration of the withdrawal of foreign troops, Islamic credentials of the government in Kabul, protection of those who sacrificed for the Taliban, peace as conclusion of the jihad, and the new role for the Taliban’s cadres. After 2014, the Taliban leadership is vulnerable to a hard-line challenge arguing that the political system in Kabul is irredeemably compromised by its collaboration with unbelievers.

In United States Law and Policy on Transitional Justice: Principles, Politics, and Pragmatics, Zachary D. Kaufman, J.D., Ph.D., explores the U.S. government’s support for, or opposition to, certain transitional justice institutions. By first presenting an overview of possible responses to atrocities (such as war crimes tribunals) and then analyzing six historical case studies, Dr. Kaufman evaluates why and how the United States has pursued particular transitional justice options since World War II. This book challenges the “legalist” paradigm, which postulates that liberal states pursue war crimes tribunals because their decision-makers hold a principled commitment to the rule of law. Dr. Kaufman develops an alternative theory—“prudentialism”—which contends that any state (liberal or illiberal) may support bona fide war crimes tribunals. More generally, prudentialism proposes that states pursue transitional justice options, not out of strict adherence to certain principles, but as a result of a case-specific balancing of politics, pragmatics, and normative beliefs. Dr. Kaufman tests these two competing theories through the U.S. experience in six contexts: Germany and Japan after World War II, the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, the 1990-1991 Iraqi offenses against Kuwaitis, the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and the 1994  genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Dr. Kaufman demonstrates that political and pragmatic factors featured as or more prominently in U.S. transitional justice policy than did U.S. government officials’ normative beliefs. Dr. Kaufman thus concludes that, at least for the United States, prudentialism is superior to legalism as an explanatory theory in transitional justice policymaking.

Luis  Gabriel Moreno-Ocampo

Luis Gabriel Moreno-Ocampo

Senior Fellow

Luis Moreno-Ocampo was the first Prosecutor (June 2003- June 2012) of the new and permanent International Criminal Court.  His office was involved in twenty of the most serious crises of the 21st century including Iraq, Korea, Afghanistan, and Palestine. He conducted investigations in seven different countries, presenting charges against Muammar Gaddafi for crimes against humanity committed in Libya, the President of the Sudan Omar Al Bashir for genocide in Darfur, the former President of Ivory Coast Laurent Gbagbo, Joseph Kony and the former Vice President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Jean Pierre Bemba. Previously, Moreno-Ocampo played a crucial role during the transition to democracy in Argentina, as the deputy prosecutor in the "Junta trial" in 1985 and the Prosecutor in the trial against a military rebellion in 1991. He was a Visiting Professor at Stanford University and Harvard University. After the end of his tenure as ICC Prosecutor, Moreno Ocampo was the chairman of the World Bank Expert Panel on the Padma Bridge project. He is now in private practice at a New York law firm.

R 207
John Shattuck

John Shattuck

Senior Fellow

John Shattuck comes to the Carr Center after a distinguished career spanning more than three decades in higher education, international diplomacy, foreign policy and human rights. Shattuck served as the President and Rector of Central European University, CEO of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a national public affairs center in Boston, and Senior Fellow at Tufts University, where he taught human rights and international relations.

R-203
p: 617-495-8450
Kathryn Sikkink

Kathryn Sikkink

Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor, Radcliffe

Kathryn Sikkink works on international norms and institutions, transnational advocacy networks, the impact of human rights law and policies, and transitional justice. Her publications include The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics (awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Center Book Award, and the WOLA/Duke University Award); Mixed Signals: U.S. Human Rights Policy and Latin America; Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (co-authored with Margaret Keck and awarded the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas for Improving World Order, and the ISA Chadwick Alger Award for Best Book in the area of International Organizations); and The Persistent Power of Human Rights: From Commitment to Compliance, (co-edited with Thomas Risse and Stephen Ropp).

L-308
p: 617.495.1872
Zachary Kaufman

Zachary Kaufman

Senior Fellow

Zachary D. Kaufman, J.D., Ph.D., researches, writes, and lectures on international law and international relations, including U.S. foreign policy; transitional justice; human rights; genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other mass atrocities; war crimes tribunals (including the International Criminal Court); social entrepreneurship; and the Great Lakes region of Africa (particularly Rwanda).

p: 203-809-8500