Advancing Women Agency in Transitional Justice

Authored by: Annika Björkdahl and Johanna Mannegren Selimovic

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Transitional Justice
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Region: Europe and Eurasia
Year: 2013
Citation: Björkdahl, Annika and Johanna Mannegren Selimovic. Advancing Women Agency in Transitional Justice. Working Paper, Lund University, Sweden, 2013.

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Executive Summary

This paper contributes to an on-going conversation among scholars engaged in the critical peacebuilding research regarding the issue of agency by highlighting the central yet often neglected role of women agency in transitional justice processes. It takes as its point of departure the critical questions repeatedly posed: whose peace, what justice and for whom? Thus, the aim is to critically examine where women are located in the processes of doing justice in post-conflict societies, to map the set of dispositions which exists in these processes that incline women agents to act/react and in doing so theorize women agency in transitional justices processes. More specifically, we expose and investigate three gendered transitional justice gaps in Bosnia-Herzegovina. First, the accountability gap is revealed and we discuss the legal, physical and socioeconomic discriminatory insecurities of women witnesses, the overall lack of female presence and the misrepresentations of women-as-victims. Second, we examine the acknowledgment gap and attempts at gendering the narrative of the past commemoration of rape camp such as the one in Foca. Third, the reparation gap is investigated to reimagine reparations programs that may contribute to challenge existing gender hierarchies and bring about social transformation.