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Privatized Justice: The Role of the Private Sector in Transitional Justice Processes

About the Project:

Political transitions have become an area of big interest to the private sector in recent years. More and more philanthropic foundations and private companies donate money to support transitional justice (TJ) processes across the globe. The Peace and Security Funding Index indicated that in 2017 $41.2 million of private funds were spent on financing efforts to document crimes and atrocities, hold responsible parties to account, and move forward the reconciliation between victims and perpetrators by supporting truth commissions, reparation and rehabilitation programs.

Yet, in most cases, private actors see themselves as development partners rather than mere donors and seek close involvement with advocacy strategies and policy discussions. They push for building long-lasting partnerships with state authorities and international organizations (IOs) to bring about peace, justice, and reconciliation to affected societies. It is particularly difficult, though, to shed light on the real motives of such assistance due to the ambiguous legal regulation of the cooperation between the private sector and transitioning governments or international organizations.

This dissertation rises out of a conviction that philanthropy and other non-state contributions to transitional justice play a significant and growing role in both established democracies and states in transition. Yet, this activity of the private actors stays outside the margins of international law scholarship, especially when comparing to the exploration of governments’ involvement in TJ. This work aims at making non-state contributions a more visible object of scholarly scrutiny. In the area of TJ philanthropists and private corporations wield considerable power, especially when the state cannot or will not act.

This research will try to explore the legal frameworks behind private donations and other forms of private assistance to TJ processes and to understand legal problems related to this enterprise. It will also discuss whether TJ public-private partnerships (PPPs) or individual private actors can be brought to account for their acts. It will also attempt to explore legal restraints such as the modus operandi and responsibility of PPPs and whether the latter make efforts to balance public interest and business secret.


PhD candidate

Supervisor

Publications