Seminar: Dr Colleen Murphy
Principled Compromises: When does a Process of Transitional Justice Qualify as Just?
On Wednesday 12 February, the School of Law welcomed Dr Colleen Murphy from the College of Law at the University of Illinois. Her seminar, entitled ‘Principled Compromises: When does a Process of Transitional Justice Qualify as Just?’ discusses the difficulties of coming into agreement on the justifiability of particular processes chosen to address past wrongs. She spoke on the impact of pervasive structural inequality, the normalisation of wrongdoing, and the issues of overlapping categories of victims, perpetrators, and bystanders.
Three challenges within transitional justice processes were highlighted: the problem of legitimising illegitimate organisations or governments during negotiation, the failure to sufficiently achieve justice for victims, and the risk of reinforcing unjust patterns of interactions rather than establishing transformative processes to combat status quo. To move from these challenges, Dr Murphy emphasised the need to compromise as a commitment to democratic communities and overcome epistemic limitations of taking sides post-conflict. She also spoke on the importance of integrating values, stating that no value should be sacrificed or diminished.
Lastly, Dr Murphy concluded that the way forward in the practice of transitional justice is to ask who determines the threshold level of satisfaction for victims and whether these victims have indeed achieved justice.
For more talks like this, visit QUB School of Law for a list of upcoming events.