This article argues that the post-conflict reconciliation process is undermined by the importance given to the retributive form of justice dominating peacebuilding and transitional justice measures. Retributive justice reinforces the division between perpetrator and victim, thus undermining the reconciliation process between antagonistic parties. The so-called objective categories of perpetrator and victim, so crucial for the administration and management of most peacebuilding measures, underestimate the individual and collective psychological dimension and intersubjective effects that these categories have upon the healing and reconciliation processes. The significance of the psychological dimension of reconciliation suggests a restorative justice approach that emphasizes the subjective and intersubjective meanings of justice and reconciliation. The case of post-genocide Rwanda will be used to show how the retributive justice approach can undermine the reconciliation process.


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pp. 277-292
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