The increased prevalence of political transitions following internal conflict has seen heightened attention given to both transitional justice and constitution-building as fields of study and intervention.

However, little attention has been paid to understanding how the interaction between the two fields can better serve their respective and mutual objectives. This Policy Paper promotes better understanding of synergies between transitional justice and constitution-building and encourages decision-makers and experts in the field to consider options for maximizing the comparative advantages of transitional justice and constitution-building respectively, to pursue the overall goal of sustainable peace and development.

The paper illustrates the potential power of combining transitional justice and constitution-building, but also details the challenges inherent in conflating the two processes. Without proposing specific models or answers, the paper highlights the importance of seeing transitional justice and constitution-building processes as complementary rather than competitive, and expands understanding not only of what one process can do to improve itself, but of the ways in which breaking down silos and looking at nuanced interactions between transitional justice and constitution-building processes can help to address the major challenges that transitions present.


Publication date
17 November 2019
Amanda Cats-Baril
Number of pages
978-91-7671-285-6 (PDF)
978-91-7671-284-9 (Print)



Key recommendations

Executive summary

1. Introduction

2. Interactions between political settlements, transitional justice and constitution-building in transitional contexts

3. Constitution-building and transitional justice: conceptual framework and comparative approaches

4. References

5. Case studies


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Moving Beyond Transitions to Transformation: Interactions between Transitional Justice and Constitution-Building

International IDEA Policy Paper No. 22
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