Victims as interactive agents of change in transitional justice: shaping the pathways of transition and overcoming harm

Presentation by Marit de Haan at the 16th Biennial Meeting of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS): “Authoritarianism & Genocide: Narratives of Exclusion” from 10-14 July 2023, Barcelona, Spain


The Chilean transition towards democracy is known as a paradigmatic case of transitional justice in which all elements of the ‘transitional justice toolkit’ have been employed. However, a closer look at victims’ experiences with the transition and recent repeat of human rights violations during the social protests of 2019 gives rise to the question whether the mechanisms of transitional justice are able to fulfill the promise of ‘nunca más’ and whether they adequately addressed victims’ most pressing needs and demands. How have transitional justice mechanisms and their temporal organization impacted Chilean victims? How have these victims mobilized, expressed and pursued their demands in a context of ongoing transition with limited political will? Conceptualizing transitional justice as a paradigm shaped in interaction between multiple actors involved (amongst them victims, civil society organizations and the state), this presentation looks into the way how the mechanisms of transitional justice have impacted victim’s pathways of overcoming harm, while at the same time looking into how their mobilization has impacted and shaped the pathway of transition. The paper is based on the results of qualitative (interview based) PhD research on the perceptions and needs of justice of the victims of the Chilean military dictatorship.

Date & Time

July 13, 2023



Organized by International Association of Genocide Scholars