Inconvenient Justice: The Struggle to "Close the Books" in Afghanistan and Nepal
Degree awarded: Ph.D. School of International Service. American University
INCONVENIENT JUSTICE: THE STRUGGLE TO "CLOSE THE BOOKS" IN AFGHANISTAN AND NEPAL BYTazreena Sajjad ABSTRACTInconvenient Justice argues for a more nuanced understanding of the dynamic "local" that goes beyond the realm of a cultural framework. Correspondingly, it suggests that conceptualization of the "local" needs to be problematized further to expose the tensions and hierarchies of and within the local, and to question whose version of the local is actually prioritized in transitional justice programming. Specifically it asserts that the local must be understood as an inter-subjective concept and that the "local" in transitional justice should be seen as a dynamic, evolving phenomenon. This research examines five specific areas, which it insists, are critical components defining the local: (i) the historical context within which "transitional justice" mechanisms are implemented; (ii) the limitations of, and opportunities for, local legal systems to engage with transitional justice questions; (iii) the internal/domestic and international politicking around the "transitional justice" discourse; iv) the importance of centrally placing the local to define justice; and, (v) as an illustration of the domestic struggle for long-term justice, the role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) which link local voices to national and international platforms of decision-making and balance their role of advocating for human rights, while looking into past instances of abuses. Using a comparative case study approach, this research draws on one hundred and fifteen in-depth interviews conducted with international and national organizations, policy-makers, government officials, journalists, experts, and victims' groups in Kabul, Kathmandu, Washington D.C., and New York. It also incorporates participant observation, narrative research and analyses of reports, correspondence, press releases, agreements, bills, official texts, newspaper articles and petitions to provide an in-depth understanding of the complexities of the justice question in both these contexts.
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