The complexities of participation in transitional justice: a critical exploration of victims’ experiences in the aftermath of the Ixil genocide in Guatemala

Victims of the Guatemalan internal armed conflict (1960-1996) have participated in various spaces to seek redress for the human rights violations they endured. These spaces not only involve formal initiatives such as truth-commissions, criminal trials and reparations programs, but also encompass local-level initiatives emerging from communities and civil society organizations. However, despite decades of wide-reaching participation, most victims have not achieved their most pressing demands and in many cases, still endure the structural causes of the conflict. This is especially true for indigenous Maya victims, who live in poverty and continue to experience racism and marginalization.

Drawing on qualitative findings from field research in the Ixil region, the paper discusses three diverging and complex outcomes that have emerged from victims’ broad trajectories of participation: 1) victims’ comprehensive understanding of justice according to their socioeconomic realities; 2) the gradual expansion of agency and mobilization beyond transitional justice spaces in order to advance their justice demands; and 3) victims’ varying perceptions of the state and civil society organizations. By exploring these topics, this paper aims to contribute to key debates on long-term victim participation, particularly in contexts of increasing deterioration of democratic spaces and growing threats to sustainable peace and human rights

Date & Time

July 13, 2023



Organized by International Association of Genocide Scholars