Emory International Law Review

Addressing Dilemmas of the Global and the Local in Transitional Justice
Dustin N. Sharp Dustin Sharp, JD, Harvard Law School. Assistant Professor at the Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. The author can be contacted at dsharp@sandiego.edu. I would like to thank Adam Branch, Thomas Obel Hansen, Joanna Quinn, Chandra Lekha Sriram, and Necla Tschirgi and for their astute comments on earlier versions of this article. All errors are entirely my own.

Abstract

The importance of “the local” (local ownership, local values, local practices, etc.) in matters of post-conflict peacebuilding and transitional justice has become an increasingly common trope in academic and policy discourse. Yet despite its centrality, concepts like “local ownership” remain vague and poorly understood, often being associated more with aspirational rhetoric than concrete policy reality. Examined more deeply, the seeming consensus about the importance of the local in transitional justice masks a profound ambivalence arising out of a clash of normative commitments: between liberal internationalism and international human rights on the one hand, and principles of local sovereignty and autonomy on the other. Striking a better balance between these commitments represents one of the key policy challenges of 21st century transitional justice. To this end, this Article seeks to analyze and deconstruct the concept of the local in the transitional justice context, exploring its promises and pitfalls. In particular, I argue that understanding global-local dilemmas requires one to unpack the concept of local ownership, distinguishing concerns about actual control (agency, decision making, funding), process (bottom-up, participatory, homegrown), and substance (values, practices, priorities), even if those concerns are in practice highly related. Deconstruction of the concept of the local, in turn, tends to destabilize, breaking down simple binary notions of global and local. Going forward, achieving a better global-local balance along the multiple dimensions of local ownership may help to generate new and innovative approaches that take us beyond the transitional justice “toolbox.”

Introduction

The importance of “the local” (local ownership, local values, local practices, etc.) is an increasingly common trope in post-conflict peacebuilding and transitional justice discourse. 1See, e.g., U.N. Secretary-General, Report of the Secretary General on Peacebuilding in the Immediate Aftermath of Conflict, para. 7, U.N. Doc. A/63/881-S/2009/304 (June 11, 2009) (“The imperative of national ownership is a central theme of the present report . . . .”) [hereinafter Report of the Secretary General]; U.N. Secretary-General, The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies, para. 16–17, 36, U.N. Doc. S/2004/616 (Aug. 23, 2004) (arguing that the U.N. must “learn better how to respect and support local ownership, local leadership and a local constituency for reform.”) [hereinafter The Rule of Law]; Simon Chesterman, Walking Softly in Afghanistan: The Future of U.N. Statebuilding, 44 Survival 37, 41 (2002) (“[E]very U.N. mission and development program now stresses the importance of local ‘ownership.’”). While transitional justice solutions have at times been imposed from the outside, it is now acknowledged that the United Nations (UN) must better support “local ownership” in matters of post-conflict justice and that “due regard” must be given to local justice and reconciliation traditions. 2The Rule of Law, supra note 1, at para. 16–17, 36; Chandra Sriram, Justice as Peace? Liberal Peacebuilding and Strategies of Transitional Justice, 21 Global Soc’y 579, 591 (2007). Paeans to the value of the local in policy circles are paralleled by a growing body of scholarship on the topic that has sought to explore the complexities of bringing dimensions of the local from the periphery to the foreground of transitional justice work. 3See, e.g., Transitional Justice: Global Mechanisms and Local Realities After Genocide and Mass Violence (Alexander Hinton, ed., Rutgers University Press 2010); Customary Justice and the Rule of Law in War-Torn Societies (Deborah Isser, ed., United States Institute of Peace 2011); Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities After Mass Violence (Rosalind Shaw & Lars Waldorf eds., Stanford University Press 2010); Elizabeth Stanley, Transitional Justice: From the Local to the International, in The Ashgate Research Companion to Ethics and International Relations (Patrick Hayden ed., 2009); Erin Baines, Spirits and Social Reconstruction After Mass Violence: Rethinking Transitional Justice, 109 Afr. Aff. 409 (2010). Put succinctly, the current moment in transitional justice is marked by a veritable “fascination with locality.” 4Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities After Mass Violence, supra note 3, at 4.

While the reasons for this growing attention are complex, it could be said to reflect the commonsense understanding that peace processes and justice mechanisms not embraced by those who have to live with them are unlikely to be successful in the long term. 5See Timothy Donais, Haiti and the Dilemmas of Local Ownership, 64 Int’l. J. 753, 765 (2008–2009). Interventions perceived as being imposed “from the outside” may spark backlash and resentment that undermines both legitimacy and effectiveness. 6See Andrea Talentino, Perceptions of Peacebuilding: The Dynamic of Imposer and Imposed Upon, 8 Int’l Studies Rev. 152, 153 (2007). In that sense, grappling with the dilemmas of the global and the local is not an option, but a profoundly pragmatic imperative. 7See Report of the Secretary General, supra note 1, at para. 7 (“The imperative of national ownership is a central theme of the present report.”). Yet despite the acknowledged centrality of the local, concepts like local ownership remain vague and poorly understood, being marshaled in different ways by different actors for different ends, 8See Daniel Bendix & Ruth Stanley, Deconstructing Local Ownership of Security Sector Reform: A Review of the Literature, 17 Afr. Sec. Rev. 93, 101 (2010). often being associated more with aspirational rhetoric than concrete policy reality. 9See Simon Chesterman, Ownership in Theory and in Practice: Transfer of Authority in U.N. Statebuilding Operations, 1 J. Intervention & Statebuilding 3, 9 (2007) (noting that in the fields of post-conflict reconstruction and development, ownership “has frequently been of more rhetorical significance than anything else.”); Timothy Donais, Empowerment or Imposition? Dilemmas of Local Ownership in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding Processes, 34 Peace & Change 3, 5 (2009) (observing that in the broader field of peacebuilding, “local ownership has rarely moved beyond the level of rhetoric”). Moreover, in the transitional justice context—a context permeated with international normative frameworks, institutions, donors, and technocratic expertise—the odds are often stacked against giving primacy to the local in a meaningful sense. 10See Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Designing Bespoke Transitional Justice: A Pluralist Process Approach, 32 Mich. J. Int’l L. 1, 21 (2010) (“In transitional justice mechanisms to date, the international justice proponents’ concerns have generally been paramount, perhaps because they often provide much of the funding and technical support for transitional justice mechanisms in the developing world.”). It is perhaps, therefore, unsurprising that transitional justice interventions have been and continue to be a frequent locus of tensions between the global and the local. 11See Transitional Justice: Global Mechanisms and Local Realities After Genocide and Mass Violence, supra note 3, at 9 (“[T]ransitional justice mechanisms almost always have unexpected outcomes that emerge out of ‘frictions’ between . . . global mechanisms and local realities.”).

Examined more deeply, the seeming consensus about the importance of the local masks a profound ambivalence. 12See Oliver Richmond, A Post-Liberal Peace 152–54 (2011). Building upon local ownership, priorities, practices, and values is often recognized as among the keys to the success in transitional justice interventions, 13In an oft-cited comment on the topic, Kofi Annan noted that “no rule of law reform, justice reconstruction, or transitional justice initiative imposed from the outside can hope to be successful or sustainable.” The Rule of Law, supra note 2, at para. 17. Leopold von Carlowitz has observed that while policy-makers, academics and practitioners generally agree with this principle, local ownership has nevertheless proven difficult to operationalize in practice. Local Ownership in Practice: Justice System Reform in Kosovo and Liberia 1 (Geneva Ctr. for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, Occasional Paper No. 23, March 2011). and yet local practices and solutions can also lead to stark clashes with international human rights standards. 14See Peter Uvin, Difficult Choices in the New Post-Conflict Agenda: The International Community in Rwanda After the Genocide, 22 Third World Q. 177, 185–86 (2001) (“[W]hen internal or local solutions emerge, they often take forms that do not conform to Western ethnical ideals or international legal principles.”). The appeal to the local can also be used by local elites to reinforce oppressive power structures, some of which may have led to the conflict in the first place. 15See Patricia Lundy, Paradoxes and Challenges of Transitional Justice at the “Local” Level: Historical Enquiries in Northern Ireland, 6 Contemp. Social Sci. 89, 93 (2011) (reviewing arguments in the literature that “transitional justice can be used by elites for a variety of purposes and to serve or conceal other very different political agendas.”). For these and others reasons, there is a deep distrust of local agency in the post-conflict context. 16Florian Kuhn, The Peace Prefix: Ambiguities of the Word Peace, 19 Int’l Peacekeeping 396, 402 (2012). Ultimately, the dilemmas of the local therefore reflect a clash of normative commitments: between liberal internationalism and international human rights on the one hand, and principles of local sovereignty and autonomy on the other. 17See Donais, supra note 5, at 755–56. Global frictions arise in part due to a clash between universalism and particularism—a dynamic at the heart of the cultural relativism debate in human rights. Yet it is important to note here that values like participation, inclusion, and local agency are themselves often held out as universal values intended to trump others, and at times are even as a shield against local or traditional practices that might discriminate or otherwise fail to be fully inclusive. Thus, the clash of normative commitments I speak of here is much more complex than frictions between a cosmopolitan liberalism and vigorous localism, and could also be thought of a tension between different (purportedly universal) liberal commitments. The result of this ambivalence, as played out through global-local power disparities, has typically been accommodation of the local to the extent of conformity with the global, co-option and not co-existence. 18See Stephanie Vieille, Transitional Justice: A Colonizing Field?, 4 Amsterdam L.F. 58, 66 (2012).

Conflicting commitments call for a complicated balancing act. In some contexts, too much local may be as problematic as too much global. 19See Donais, supra note 9, at 21. While it may be an all-but-impossible needle to thread, 20See Roland Paris & Timothy Sisk, Managing Contradictions: The Inherent Dilemmas of Postwar Statebuilding 5 (International Peace Academy, 2007) (suggesting that insofar as the dilemmas of postwar statebuilding stem from “compelling but mutually conflicting imperatives,” they may prove unresolvable). finding the right balance between global and local agency, priorities, practices, and values stands out as one of the key policy challenges of 21st century transitional justice. 21I have elsewhere outlined this and other key dilemmas that characterize what I call “fourth generation transitional justice.” See generally Dustin Sharp, Interrogating the Peripheries: The Preoccupations of Fourth Generation Transitional Justice, 26 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 149, 152 (2013). To this end, this Article seeks to analyze and deconstruct the concept of the local in the transitional justice context, exploring its promises and pitfalls. In doing so, I attempt to make three key points.

First, a better understanding of the role of the local in transitional justice discourse and practice requires that we think carefully about why transitional justice should have so often become the locus for such vivid global-local tensions in the first place. While cautioning against unduly rigid notions of path dependency, I offer the historical and ideological origins of transitional justice in Western liberalism and legalism as one partial explanation for the global-local “friction” experienced today. 22As Millar et al. have noted, the “friction” concept helps to stress the unexpected, unintended, and extremely complex nature of what happens when global meets local. See Gearoid Millar, Jaïr Van Der Lijn, & Willemijn Verkoren, Peacebuilding Plans and Local Reconfigurations: Frictions between Imported Processes and Indigenous Practices, 20 Int’l Peacekeeping 137, 139 (2013). I also sketch the contours of several decades of transitional justice practice to highlight the continued relevance of those origins.

Second, because concepts like local ownership present a loose and often confusing theme in academic and policy discourse that subsumes a wide range of critiques and concerns, understanding global-local dilemmas requires one to unpack the concept, distinguishing concerns about actual control (agency, decision making, funding), process (bottom-up, participatory, homegrown), and substance (values, practices, priorities), even if those concerns are in practice highly related. Given the rise of transitional justice interventions in recent decades, tensions and conflict between global and local will inevitably continue for the foreseeable future. At the same time, approaches to post-conflict justice that take into account the need for a better global-local balance along the multiple axes of local ownership (control, process, and substance) may help to generate new and innovative approaches to trying to achieve peace with justice in the wake of mass atrocity that take us beyond the increasingly rote transitional justice “toolbox.” 23The phrase “transitional justice toolbox” refers to the mechanisms and interventions most associated with the field: prosecutions, truth telling, reparations, vetting and dismissals, institutional reform, etc. The toolbox metaphor is increasingly critiqued as suggesting a set, one-size-fits-all template ignorant of context, and because the tool idea implies that transitional justice interventions are somehow neutral, acultural, and apolitical. Lieselotte Viaene & Eva Brems, Transitional Justice and Cultural Contexts: Learning from the Universality Debate, 28 Neth. Q. Hum. Rts. 199, 200 (2010).

Finally, I observe that breaking down concepts like local ownership tends to destabilize, deconstructing simple binary notions of global and local. In reality, transitional justice processes typically involve complicated interplay between multiple varied levels, resulting in a dialectic process where global and local are transformed by their encounter with each other. 24See Sally Engle Merry, Legal Pluralism and Transnational Culture: The Ka Ho’okolokolonui Kanaka Maoli Tribunal, Hawai’i, 1993, in Human Rights, Culture & Contest: Anthropological Perspectives 30 (Richard Wilson ed., 1997) (“[H]uman rights is an open text, capable of appropriation and redefinition.”); Sally Engle Merry, Global Human Rights and Local Social Movements in a Legally Plural World, 12 Can. J. L. & Soc. 247, 249 (1997) (“[G]lobal rights discourses are appropriated in local communities and . . . are themselves constructed out of local struggles.”). This has led some scholars to question the value of the concept of the local, arguing instead for more complicated notions of “glocality,” “translocality,” and “local and larger local.” 25See Lundy, supra note 15, at 93 (reviewing perspectives that seek to move beyond the “stark and mutually exclusive binary oppositions of local and ‘global’ that tend to dominate transitional justice literature.”); Bruce Mazlish, The Global and the Local, 53 Current Sociology 93, 99 (2005) (discussing the idea of “local” and “larger local.”). Yet as an ideal, the concept of the local continues to provide an important counterweight to the centralizing and universalizing tendencies of transitional justice and liberal international peacebuilding more generally. Concepts of local and global therefore retain utility for purposes of both analysis and policymaking, even if they do not accurately describe the full complexity of transitional justice processes.

This Article consists of four parts. In Part I, I examine the ideological and historical origins of the field of transitional justice, with a view to how these origins have shaped some of the boundaries, tensions, and dilemmas of field. In Part II, I discuss some of the frequent critiques of mainstream transitional justice practice, particularly the idea that it is largely a top-down and state-centric enterprise that pays insufficient attention to questions of local ownership, agency, priorities, practices, and values. In Part III, I examine some of the promises and pitfalls of greater engagement with the local in matters of transitional justice. In Part IV, I argue for the need to break down concepts of local ownership as a means of striking a better global-local balance.

I. The Historical and Ideological Origins of Transitional Justice

Transitional justice can be conceived of as a set of moral, legal, and political dilemmas involving how best to respond to mass atrocities and other forms of profound injustice in the wake of conflict or in times of political transition. 26Sriram, supra note 2, at 582–83. See Rosemary Nagy, Transitional Justice as a Global Project: Critical Reflections, 29 Third World Q. 275, 277–78 (2008) for a review of how definitions of transitional justice have evolved over time. See also Paige Arthur, How “Transitions” Reshaped Human Rights: A Conceptual History of Transitional Justice, 31 Hum. Rts. Q. 321, 329–33 (2009) (tracing the history of the use of the term “transitional justice.”). It is often defined in part by reference to a set of practices—including prosecutions, truth-seeking, vetting and dismissals, reparations, and institutional reform—now associated with responses to widespread human rights violations. 27According to a famous U.N. definition, “[transitional justice comprises] the full range of processes and mechanisms associated with a society’s attempts to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses, in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation. These may include both judicial and non-judicial mechanisms, with differing levels of international involvement (or none at all) and individual prosecutions, reparations, truth-seeking, institutional reform, vetting and dismissals, or a combination thereof.” The Rule of Law, supra note 1, at para. 8. In the last three decades, these practices have become increasingly widespread. Priscilla Hayner, for example, has documented the existence of some 40 modern-day truth commissions. 28Priscilla B. Hayner, Unspeakable Truths: Transitional Justice and the Challenge of Truth Commissions 256–62 (2011). Kathryn Sikkink has demonstrated an increasing crescendo of human rights prosecutions taking place at national and international levels leading, she argues, to the emergence of a new global norm of accountability, at least for certain harms. 29See Kathryn Sikkink, The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics 21 fig. 1.1 (2011). In a relatively brief span of history, therefore, transitional justice has in a sense gone mainstream, with the question no longer being whether there will be some kind of transitional justice, but what particular interventions will be deployed, and what their scope and sequencing might look like. 30See Nagy, supra note 26, at 276. See also Kieran McEvoy, Beyond Legalism: Towards a Thicker Understanding of Transitional Justice, 34 J.L. & Soc’y 411, 412 (2007). Though it continues to be shaped by the broader field of international human rights, transitional justice has emerged as its own field of theory, policy, and practice, with dedicated NGOs, job descriptions, academic journals, and itinerant expert consultants. 31See Laura Arriaza & Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Social Reconstruction as Local Process, 2 Int’l J. Transitional Just. 152, 152 (2008) (“A whole agenda—and a whole set of institutions and professionals—has emerged to implement ‘transitional justice’ interventions . . . .”); Christine Bell, Transitional Justice, Interdisciplinarity and the State of the ‘Field’ or ‘Non-Field, 3 Int’l J. Transitional Just. 5, 7 (2009) (arguing that transitional justice emerged as a distinct field sometime after 2000).

Practices now associated with what we call transitional justice can be traced back millennia, 32See generally Jon Elster, Closing the Books: Transitional Justice in Historical Perspective (2004) (reviewing historic practices now associated with the modern field of transitional justice). yet the origins of the modern field have firm roots in the 1980s and 90s and the attempts of nascent democracies during the so-called “third-wave” of democratic transitions 33The “third wave” is a term used by political scientist Samuel Huntington to describe a period of global democratization beginning in the mid-1970s that touched more than sixty countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. See generally Samuel P. Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (1991). to grapple with historical legacies of repression and widespread human rights abuses. 34See Arthur, supra note 26, at 325–26. The definitive source that captures the thinking and spirit of the period is Neil Kritz’s seminal three-volume work. See generally Transitional Justice: How Emerging Democracies Reckon with Former Regimes (Neil Kritz ed., Washington: United States Institute of Peace, 1995). Born out of the euphoria of the immediate post Cold-War era, an era pregnant with the rhetoric of Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history,” 35See generally Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (1992). transitional justice was shaped not just by a preoccupation with accountability for past human rights violations, but by the notion that grappling with the legacies of the past would also help to facilitate a democratic political transition. 36Influential scholars from the period attempted to predict to what extent the scope of transitional justice would be determined by a set of bargains between the various elite groups facilitating the democratic transition, with more or less justice possible depending on the extent to which previous elites retained a grip on the levers of power. See Samuel P. Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (1991), reprinted in I Transitional Justice: General Considerations 65, 65–81 (Neil J. Kritz ed., 1995); Guillermo O’Donnell & Philippe C. Schmitter, Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions About Uncertain Democracies (1986), reprinted in Transitional Justice, 57 (Neil Kritz ed., 1995). Implicit in these twin impulses and the ideology of the era was a sort of teleological or “stage-theory” view of history. 37See Transitional Justice: Global Mechanisms and Local Realities after Genocide and Mass Violence, supra note 3, at 6–7. As part of this narrative, transitional justice mechanisms become a sort of secular right of passage symbolizing evolution 38See Michael Rothberg, Progress, Progression, Procession: William Kentridge and the Narratology of Transitional Justice, 20 Narrative 2, 5 (2012). as countries progress from barbarism, communism, and authoritarianism to Western liberal democracy. Thus, viewing transitional justice as an apolitical “toolbox,” a notion implicit in U.N. and other definitions, fails to account for the important historical and ideological underpinnings of the field. 39To An-Na’im, these historical and ideological underpinnings include an implicit neocolonial logic that places dominant conceptions of “transitional justice” within “the grand ‘modernizing’ mission of North Atlantic societies.” See Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Editorial Note: From the Neocolonial “Transition” to Indigenous Formations of Justice, 7 Int’l J. Transitional Just. 197 (2013). While transitional justice is a dynamic and evolving field, these origins remain key to understanding some of its modern conceptual boundaries, assumptions, and blind spots, shaped as they have been by a particular faith in the ability of key liberal goods, including the rule of law, democracy, legalism, and human rights, to create peace. 40Chandra Sriram, supra note 2, at 579. See generally McEvoy, supra note 30, at 411, for the dominance of law and legalism in transitional justice.

Origins also help to explain in part the dominance of certain disciplines, approaches, and professional sensibilities in the field today. In the abstract, the question of how best to respond to mass atrocities is one well-suited to a range of disciplines, including philosophy, history, religion, anthropology, and psychology, yet in practice the field has for the most part been dominated by lawyers and political scientists. 41See Arthur, supra note 26, at 333. Given the dominance of lawyers in particular, it is perhaps not surprising that mass atrocities have been largely analogized as a form of mass crime, 42Miriam J. Aukerman, Extraordinary Evil, Ordinary Crime: A Framework for Understanding Transitional Justice, 15 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 39, 94–97 (2002). and that the tools that have been marshaled in response have had a heavily legal character, often focusing more on retributive justice via formal courts and tribunals rather than other forms of justice. 43Rama Mani stands as an early exception to this trend, arguing for a more balanced approach to post-conflict reconstruction that would include three dimensions of justice: retributive, rectificatory, and distributive. See Rama Mani, Beyond Retribution: Seeking Justice in the Shadows of War 5 (2002). This “prosecution preference,” under which anything short of Western-style courtroom justice is often seen as comprised justice, is seemingly hardwired into the DNA of mainstream transitional justice. 44Aukerman, supra note 42, at 39–44 (describing the “prosecution preference”). It has been and continues to be persistent source of debate and global-local frictions. 45The prosecution preference can be seen in debates that raged in the late 1990s concerning whether a truth commission alone could constitute an adequate form of justice. See, e.g, Reed Brody, Justice: The First Casualty of Truth?, Nation, Apr. 30, 2001 (arguing that truth commissions can serve as “a soft option for avoiding justice.”) More recently, one can look to controversies sparked by ICC indictments of leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group in Uganda where some members of the Acholi community in Northern Uganda would prefer to forgo prosecutions in favor of Mato Oput, a local ritual that emphasizes reconciliation and reintegration rather than simple retribution. Adam Branch, Uganda’s Civil War and the Politics of ICC Intervention, 21 Ethics & Int’l Aff. 179, 191–92 (2007). Though truth commissions as a form of restorative justice are arguably an exception to the historic emphasis on retributive responses to mass atrocities, it has been argued that they are still fundamentally rooted in Western modes of truth telling and traditions of public confession and may not be appropriate in cultures with a different historical grounding. 46See Rosalind Shaw, United States Institute of Peace Special Report 130, Rethinking Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: Lessons from Sierra Leone 4 (2005); see also Tim Kelsall, Truth, Lies, Ritual: Preliminary Reflections on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone, 27 Hum. Rts. Q. 361 (2005). Other items routinely considered as among the standard tools of transitional justice such as reparations, which could be considered a limited form of distributive justice, have in practice been given comparatively little emphasis and funding in many transitional processes. 47See Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Reparations in the Aftermath of Repression and Mass Violence, in My Neighbor, My Enemy 121 (Eric Stover & Harvey M. Weinstein eds., 2004) (noting that “[o]utside the context of the Second World War, examples of large-scale reparations programs become scarcer.”).

As a thought experiment, Arthur observes, one might consider the possible orientation of theory and praxis if the intellectual origins of transitional justice had been rooted in paradigmatic transitions to socialism and the dominant disciplines had been history and developmental economics. 48See Arthur, supra note 26, at 359 (2009). While it is impossible to say for sure, it seems likely that the perceived dilemmas and preoccupations, together with the tools marshaled to address them would look considerably different. As an example, one could note the historic preoccupation of transitional justice with civil and political rights rather than economic and social rights, with acts of egregious physical violence such as murder, torture, and rape, rather than equally devastating acts and policies of economic and structural violence. 49There is a growing literature examining the extent to which transitional justice can and should grapple with economic and social rights and questions of distributive justice more generally. See, e.g, Justice and Economic Violence in Transition (Dustin N. Sharp ed., 2014); Rethinking Transitions: Equality and Social Justice in Societies Emerging from Conflict (Gaby Oré Aguila & Felipe Gómez Isa eds., 2011); Distributive Justice in Transitions (Morten Bergsmo et al. eds., 2010); Transitional Justice and Development: Making Connections (Roger Duthie & Pablo de Grieff eds., 2009); Louise Arbour, Economic and Social Justice for Societies in Transition, 40 N.Y.U. J. Int’l L. & Pol. 1, 4 (2007). The importance of greater engagement questions of economic justice has also been recognized by the UN. See, e.g., U.N. Secretary-General, The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies, para. 24, U.N. Doc. S/2011/634 (Oct. 12, 2011) (observing “growing recognition that truth commissions should also address the economic, social and cultural rights dimensions of conflict to enhance long-term peace and security”); U.N. Secretary-General, Guidance Note of the Secretary-General: United Nations Approach to Transitional Justice para. 9 (Mar. 2010), http://www.unrol.org/files/TJ_Guidance_Note_March_2010FINAL.pdf (“Successful strategic approaches to transitional justice necessitate taking account of the root causes of conflict or repressive rule, and must seek to address the related violations of all rights, including economic, social, and cultural rights”). Greater attention to questions of distributive justice in transition—something that might have come more naturally if the field had different historical, ideological, and professional grounding—might well have entailed a focus on prosecutions for corruption and other economic crimes, together with a push for policies involving redistributive taxation or land tenure reform in the wake of conflict. Yet as the field has evolved, these issues have been largely pushed to the margins. 50See generally Zinaida Miller, Effects of Invisibility: In Search of the ‘Economic’ in Transitional Justice, 2 Int’l J. Transitional Just. 266 (2008). Thus, the Western liberal roots of transitional justice together with the professional orientations of those first drawn to the field helped to shape conceptions of both problems and solutions, circumscribing and stunting the nature of what counts as an injustice, who counts as a victim, as well as the nature of and emphasis within the “toolbox” itself. 51For example, under the South African TRC Act, a “victim” was limited to individuals who had suffered “gross violation[s] of human rights . . . defined as . . . killing, abduction, torture, or severe ill-treatment.” The poverty, racism, and structural violence of the Apartheid system itself where thereby excluded. Roger Duthie & Pablo de Greiff, Repairing the Past: Reparations for Victims of Human Rights Violations, in Handbook of Reparations 8 (Pablo de Greiff ed., 2006).

While the historical and ideological origins of transitional justice may have predisposed the field to privilege certain forms of harm and certain ways of responding to those harms, it can be argued that the field’s roots in Western liberalism do not necessarily dictate internationally imposed solutions, “top-down” responses, or the more general marginalization of the local that has featured in many transitional justice interventions over time. 52Roland Paris made this point with respect to similar critiques that have been leveled against the broader field of post-conflict peacebuilding. See Roland Paris, Saving Liberal Peacebuilding, 36 Rev. of Int’l Stud. 337, 363 (2010). I outline these critiques in more detail in Part II. At the same time, the historic association between transitional justice and largely Western and legalistic responses to mass atrocity, when coupled with the field’s grounding in international law and international human rights more generally, has served to privilege international institutions, norms, practices, knowledge, and expertise. 53See generally Dustin N. Sharp, Interrogating the Peripheries; The Preoccupations of Fourth Generation Transitional Justice, 26 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 149, 150 (2013). The early dominance of lawyers and legalism may also help to explain a tendency to view social change as a function of elite bargaining and top-down legal-institutional reforms. 54See Sandra Rubli, Transitional Justice: Justice by Bureaucratic Means? 11 (Swiss Peace, Working Paper No. 4, 2012). The result is an emphasis on a constrained yet institutionally demanding understanding of transitional justice that some have argued is not consistent with the quality and capacity of state institutions in many post-conflict countries, to say nothing of cultural congruence. 55See Lydiah Bosire, Overpromised, Underdelivered: Transitional Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa, 5 SUR Int’l J. on Hum. Rts. 71, 72 (2006).

Against this backdrop, the felt need for prosecutions and truth commissions “in conformity with . . . international standards” 56The Rule of Law, supra note 1, at para. 36. often leads to the involvement of international donors, NGOs, and experts, placing a further thumb on the scales favoring the primacy of the global rather than the local. Indigenous or homespun solutions come to appear rough around the edges, second-best approaches to questions of how to do justice in times of transition. 57See An-Na’im, supra note 39, at 197 (observing that “preference is given to a standard of justice that is mandated by the international community over indigenous or ‘traditional’ practices.”). Mirroring the savages-victims-saviors paradigm at the heart of some human rights advocacy, these dynamics produce a situation where the locals (savages) need to be assisted by international experts and institutions (saviors)—not just from the abuses they have committed against victims during the conflict, but from the “mistakes” locals would make in attempting to devise their own post-conflict solutions as well. 58See generally Makau Mutua, Savages, Victims, and Saviors: The Metaphor of Human Rights, 42 Harv. Int’l L. J. 201 (2001). Internationally constructed categories of “perpetrator” and “victim” are essential to justifying such interventions. (Who, after all, will defend the rights of “victims” if not members of the “international community?”) 59For a useful deconstruction of the problematic term “international community,” see generally Berit Bliesemann de Guevara & Florian Kuhn, ‘The International Community Needs to Act’: Loose Use and Empty Signaling of a Hackneyed Concept, 18 Int’l Peacekeeping 135 (2011). The international assistance offered in such a context is projected as apolitical and technocratic, yet it carries heavy implications for the distribution of power (political, legal, social, etc.) in the post-conflict context. 60See Patricia Lundy & Mark McGovern, Whose Justice? Rethinking Transitional Justice from the Bottom Up, 35 J.L. & Soc’y 265, 276–77 (2008) (noting that “wider geo-political and economic interests too often shape what tend to be represented as politically and economically neutral post-conflict and transitional justice initiatives”); Bronwyn Anne Leebaw, The Irreconcilable Goals of Transitional Justice, 30 Hum. Rts. Q. 95, 98–106 (2008) (arguing that a superficial consensus as to the goals of transitional justice can serve to mask a deeper level of politicization and debate, and that assessment of the tensions, trade-offs, and dilemmas associated with transitional justice has become difficult to the extent that they have been conceptualized in apolitical terms); Sriram, supra note 2, at 587–88 (discussing the ways in which post-conflict institutional reform strategies relating to the judiciary, constitution, and security forces may be seen by key protagonists as permanently cementing new power arrangements and therefore not as neutral or apolitical processes).

Of course, origins are not destiny, and the biases and blind spots of the early years of transitional justice need not necessarily be those of today. Thus, in seeking to understand contemporary challenges, unduly rigid notions of path dependency must be avoided. There are signs of limited but increasing openness to more diverse and culturally-grounded approaches to justice and a growing reconsideration of the need to address questions of economic justice. 61See Sharp, supra note 53, at 139. The field is also increasingly being shaped by perspectives from disciplines other than law and political science. Yet it is also true that once sets of practices and assumptions come to dominate a field, more than superficial change can prove difficult and slow going. As James Cavallaro and Sebastián Albuja have argued, the early years of transitional justice helped to establish a “dominant script” that has gone on to be replicated irrespective of how suited it has been to some new contexts. 62Sebastián Albuja & James Cavallaro, The Lost Agenda: Economic Crimes and Truth Commissions in Latin America and Beyond, in Transitional Justice from Below, Grassroots Activism and the Struggle for Change 125 (Kieran McEvoy & Lorna McGregor eds., 2008). The problem of set templates and formulaic paths is of course not unique to transitional justice, but has dogged the broader work of post-conflict peacebuilding as well. See Ole Jacob Sending, Why Peacebuilders Fail to Secure Ownership and be Sensitive to Context 7 (Norwegian Inst. of Int’l Aff., Working Paper No. 755, 2009). It is important to note, however, that even established and dominant scripts can and do change (as evident in the growing work of certain African truth commissions on questions of economic justice), even if it typically involves a very slow and uneven process. See generally, Dustin N. Sharp, Economic Violence in the Practice of African Truth Commissions and Beyond, in Justice and Economic Violence in Transition (Dustin N. Sharp ed., 2014).

Over time, the democratic transitions paradigm in which the field was originally grounded has become less explicit, and transitional justice is increasingly associated with the much broader field of post-conflict peacebuilding. 63Thus, for example, transitional justice practices are now associated with countries and regime changes such as Rwanda that can hardly be considered democratic. See generally After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond (Phil Clark & Zachary D. Kaufman eds., 2009). One could ask whether this newfound association will help to break through the conceptual boundaries and dominant scripts that have developed over time. 64Many have questioned the utility of the transitions paradigm altogether. See, e.g., Moses Chrispus Okello, Afterword: Elevating Transitional Local Justice or Crystallizing Global Governance?, in Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities After Mass Violence 275, 278–79 (Rosalind Shaw & Lars Waldorf eds., 2010) (questing the “unintended consequences of assuming that we are all progressing towards the same destination”); Harvey M. Weinstein et al., Stay the Hand of Justice: Whose Priorities Take Priority?, in Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities After Mass Violence 36, 36 (Rosalind Shaw & Lars Waldorf eds., 2010) (stating that “[i]t is time to reconsider whether the term transitional justice accurately captures the dynamic processes unfolding on the ground”). However, as many have noted, the field of international post-conflict peacebuilding is itself largely rooted in the belief that free markets and Western liberal democracies are the surest path to peace. 65See generally Roland Paris, At War’s End (2004). As I have argued elsewhere, the critiques of what has become known as “liberal international peacebuilding” share much in common with the critiques of transitional justice, including the idea that they both frequently involve top-down and state-centric interventions that serve to marginalize local ownership, agency, priorities, practices, and values. 66See generally Dustin N. Sharp, Beyond the Post-Conflict Checklist: Linking Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice Through the Lens of Critique, 14 Chi. J. Int’l L. 165 (2013). There is reason to worry that the concerns that have given rise to these parallel critiques will be made worse, not better, by a greater association between transitional justice and post-conflict peacebuilding. 67Id. Thus, one should not expect global-local frictions in transitional justice to disappear as the historical and ideological origins of the field slip further below the surface. On the contrary, the lingering perception that transitional justice and post-conflict peacebuilding more generally share a common project to remake illiberal and imperfectly liberal states in the image of Western liberal democracies 68See Lundy & McGovern, supra note 60, 276–77. contributes to the tendency of post-conflict interventions with a strong international component to produce some of the global-local frictions discussed in the following Part. 69As with development and transitional justice, there is a burgeoning peacebuilding literature analyzing the dilemmas of the local. See, e.g., Oliver Richmond, The Romanticisation of the Local: Welfare, Culture, and Peacebuilding, 44 Int’l Spectator 149, 161–63 (2009); Roger Mac Ginty, Indigenous Peace-Making Versus the Liberal Peace, 43 Cooperation and Conflict: J. Nordic Int’l Stud. Ass’n 139 (2008); Donais, supra note 9, at 3.

II. Critiques of Transitional Justice Practice Vis-à-Vis the Local

While the ideological and professional origins of transitional justice theory and practice helped to shape the conceptual boundaries of the field and to set in motion some of the global-local frictions experienced today, it would be too simple to attribute everything to those origins. We must also look to several decades of transitional justice practice to better understand the dilemmas of the local. Transitional justice practice is not a monolith, and where trenchant critiques have been raised there are always notable exceptions to the more general trend. 70See Jenny Peterson, A Conceptual Unpacking of Hybridity: Accounting for Notions of Power, Politics and Progress in Analyses of Aid-Driven Interfaces, 7 J. of Peacebuilding and Dev. 9, 12 (2012) (noting the tendency of assessments of liberal interventions to homogenize). To be clear, much of the work of transitional justice—be it national-level human rights prosecutions or locally initiated and driven restorative justice practices—is carried out without significant tension with the global. 71At the same time, as I note in the following Part, great caution with categories of global and local is warranted. What may look like a purely “local” effort or initiative may turn out to have been in part initiated by internationals, and to have received international funding, framing, and technical assistance. Thus, in practice, there is often a blurring of categories. Yet a persistent critique of many transitional justice initiatives is that they pay insufficient attention to questions of locality and have been distant from the victims and the larger communities whom they were on some level intended to serve. Examples here will be largely drawn from transitional justice initiatives with a significant international component or where global-local frictions have otherwise risen to the surface most palpably. International prosecutions, in particular, have tended to set global-local frictions in sharpest relief, and will be examined in some detail before turning more briefly to the work of truth commissions. 72“International prosecutions” includes purely international tribunals such as the international criminal tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Rwanda (ICTR), and the International Criminal Court (ICC), as well as the so-called “hybrid” tribunals, such as the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). Though one could argue for a distinction between “international criminal justice” (limited primarily to international and hybrid criminal tribunals) and the broader work of “transitional justice,” the fact remains that since Nuremburg international tribunals have often been associated with transitional and post-conflict contexts, and they tend to generate similar legal, political and moral dilemmas. See Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, July 17, 1998, 2187 U.N.T.S. 90, arts. 4–5 [hereinafter Rome Statute]. The International Criminal Court has the potential to hear cases from a great variety of countries and therefore is not limited to addressing crimes in post-conflict or transitional contexts; however, its work in places like Uganda and Côte d’Ivoire has become central to post-conflict dynamics in both countries. Even when operating where there is no notable political transition, the ICC has demonstrated a capacity to generate very sharp global-local frictions. See, e.g., Eric Posner, The Absurd International Criminal Court, Wall St. J., June 11, 2012, at A13. Thus, for the sole purposes of analyzing global-local frictions, a sharp line between international criminal justice and transitional justice need not be drawn.

In many ways, the paradigm for modern-day international tribunals can be found in the Nuremburg International Military Tribunal (IMT), which was established by the victorious allied powers shortly after the Second World War in order to try senior Nazi leaders for aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. 73For a fascinating account of the establishment of the Nuremburg tribunal and a recap of the debates that it engendered, see Gary J. Bass, Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals 147–205 (2000). From the outset, the tribunal was dogged with criticism that it exemplified a form of victor’s justice and made little attempt to secure what we might today call local ownership, drawing both judges and prosecutors from the ranks of the victors. 74With respect to the victor’s justice charge, Chief Justice Stone of the United States Supreme Court famously called the trials a “high-grade lynching party” and a “sanctimonious fraud.” See Louise Arbour, The Rule of Law and the Reach of Accountability, in The Rule of Law 104 (Cheryl Saunders & Katherine Le Roy eds., 2003). Indeed, quite apart from a preoccupation with such niceties, one of the chief policy debates in the lead up to the creation of the tribunal was whether to summarily execute senior Nazi leaders, with options ranging from 50 to 50,000 executions. 75Gary J. Bass, supra note 73, at 158–60. The trial option prevailed, however, and unlike some modern international tribunals, the IMT was located in-country, in Nuremburg no less, which was the ceremonial birthplace of the National Socialist (Nazi) party and site of annual propaganda rallies. The choice of a trial, as opposed to executions, and a symbolic location in Germany were intended to help generate a sense of defeat amongst the vanquished (i.e., the locals), but also to serve the educational function of conveying to ordinary Germans some sense of the scope of the atrocities committed by the Nazis in their name. 76Beyond its symbolic value, Nuremburg was also chosen out of convenience since its Palace of Justice was large and relatively undamaged by the war. See id. at 154 (noting President Roosevelt’s desire that “every person in Germany should realize that this time Germany is a defeated nation” and speculating that the aspect of the Nuremburg trials that may have most appealed to President Roosevelt was their educational value for the local population in terms of conveying some of the truth of what was done during the war). Although better than the alternatives debated at the time, there can ultimately be little doubt that the Nuremburg (and lesser known Tokyo) tribunals were an imposed justice and that the ability of local constituencies to have meaningful input into the process was limited to nonexistent. 77The majority of the defense counsel were German lawyers.

Even though the Nuremburg and Tokyo tribunals generated some controversy, they helped spark an interest in the creation of a permanent international criminal court. 78See John Dugard, Obstacles in the Way of an International Criminal Court, 56 Cambridge L. J. 329, 329 (1997) (noting “[t]he enthusiasm generated by Nuremberg and Tokyo for a permanent court”). However, Cold War frictions soon made consensus on the parameters of such an institution impossible. 79Between 1949 and 1954, the International Law Commission prepared several draft statutes that would have led to the creation of a permanent international criminal court, but they were eventually shelved. See id. Nevertheless, the Nuremberg model remains important because it was in some respects resurrected in the mid-1990s with the creation of the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR). 80See id. at 330. As the first major post-Cold War experiments in international justice, both tribunals served as a lightning rod for critiques and concerns relating to their engagement with the local. Neither tribunal was fully supported by the national governments most concerned, and the tribunals themselves were set up far from the victim communities and publics on whose behalf, at least in part, they ostensibly worked. 81The ICTY is located in The Hague, the Netherlands, far from the killing fields of Bosnia. The ICTR is located in Arusha, Tanzania. Unlike the ICTY, the Rwandan government actually asked the Security Council to create a tribunal, though it eventually cast the sole dissenting vote against the tribunal due to its location outside of Rwanda, its primacy over Rwandan courts, and its lack of ability to impose the death penalty. Its relations with the tribunal have ranged from coolness to hostility. See Alison Des Forges & Timothy Longman, Legal Responses to Genocide in Rwanda, in My Neighbor, My Enemy: Justice and Community in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocity 49, 54 (Eric Stover & Harvey Weinstein eds., 2004). Focusing on this sense of almost imperial remoteness, one early critic argued that the tribunals “orbit in space, suspended from political reality and removed from both the individual and national psyches of the victims as well as the victors in those conflicts.” 82Makau Mutua, Never Again: Questioning the Yugoslav and Rwanda Tribunals, 11 Temp. Int’l & Comp. L.J. 167, 168 (1997).

Perhaps predictably, the distanced and isolated nature of the tribunals led to a lack of understanding of their work in both regions. 83See Laurel Fletcher & Harvey Weinstein, A World Unto Itself? The Application of International Justice in the Former Yugoslavia, in My Neighbor, My Enemy: Justice and Community in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocity 29, 29 (Eric Stover & Harvey Weinstein eds., 2004); Timothy Longman et al., Connecting Justice to Human Experience: Attitudes Toward Accountability and Reconciliation in Rwanda, in My Neighbor, My Enemy: Justice and Community in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocity 206, 206 (Eric Stover & Harvey Weinstein eds., 2004). Nationals of the affected states were excluded from holding high-level positions on the tribunals, further eroding a sense of ownership, and this led to a situation where those doing the prosecuting and judging not only did not share the traditions of the victims and alleged perpetrators, but in many cases were almost totally ignorant about local history and culture. 84See Fletcher & Weinstein, supra note 83, at 32; Des Forges & Longman, supra note 81, at 53 (noting that in the early years of the ICTR, “[v]irtually none of the tribunals staff . . . knew anything about the history and culture of Rwanda.”). Despite expectations that the tribunals would contribute to peace in the respective regions, it has been argued that, in the case of the ICTY, the tribunal’s architects “gave little thought to how it would relate to those most affected by the carnage” ultimately threatening “the legitimacy of the court in the eyes of the society it was trying to help.” 85See id. at 32–33. Given the misunderstandings and lack of local legitimacy, it is perhaps not surprising that some local constituencies have come to see the work of the ICTY as a form of victor’s justice. 86See id. at 40. With regards to the ICTR, the tribunal’s failure to prosecute crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front has been seen by some as a form of victor’s justice. Int’l Crisis Grp. [ICG], International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda: Justice Delayed, at iii, ICG Africa Report N. 30 (June 7, 2001) [hereinafter ICG Report]. While the ICTR has provoked less overt hostility among ordinary Rwandans, many see it as a largely useless affair conducted by the international community for the international community. 87ICG Report, supra note 86, at iii; see also Bert Ingeleare, The Gacaca courts in Rwanda, in Traditional Justice and Reconciliation after Violent Conflict: Learning from African Experiences 25, 31–45 (Luc Huyse & Mark Salter eds., 2008) (arguing that “[o]n Rwandan soil, the [International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda] is portrayed and thus perceived as an instance of the Western way of doing justice—highly inefficient, time-consuming, expensive and not adapted to Rwandan custom.”).

Mounting criticism of the ad hoc tribunals eventually led to the creation of “community outreach” units. Such outreach and other community-centered objectives have always been ancillary to the primary task of securing convictions, and turning around people’s perceptions of the tribunals’ work has proved to be a tall order. 88See David Cohen, “Hybrid” Justice in East Timor, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia: “Lessons Learned” and Prospects for the Future, 43 Stan. J. Int’l L. 1, 5–6 (2007); Varda Hussain, Sustaining Judicial Rescues: The Role of Judicial Outreach and Capacity-Building Efforts in War Crimes Tribunals, 45 Va. J. Int’l L. 547, 551 (2005); see also Victor Peskin, Courting Rwanda: The Promises and Pitfalls of the ICTR Outreach Programme, 3 J. Int’l Crim. Just. 950, 950–61 (2005). Writing in 2003, some five years after the creation of the ICTR’s outreach program, Uvin and Mironko note that “[t]he main sentiment in Rwanda regarding the ICTR may well be massive ignorance: ordinary people know or understand next to nothing about the tribunal’s work, proceedings, or results.” 89Peter Uvin & Charles Mironko, Western and Local Approaches to Justice in Rwanda, 9 Global Governance 219, 221 (2003). This ICTR is not alone in this regard. Though hailed as modestly innovative, it has been argued that the Outreach Section of the Special Court for Sierra Leone “largely failed in its primary goal of educating Sierra Leoneans about the Special Court.” Stuart Ford, How Special is the Special Court’s Outreach Section?, in The Sierra Leone Special Court and Its Legacy: The Impact for Africa and International Law (Charles Jalloh ed., 2014). These are disappointing results, and it is hard to see how a tribunal could contribute to broader efforts at reconciliation and post-conflict peacebuilding when so many are not familiar with its work in the first place. 90The preamble to the United Nations Security Council resolution establishing the ICTR provides that “the prosecution of persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law, would enable this aim [bringing effective justice] to be achieved and would contribute to the process of national reconciliation and to the restoration and maintenance of peace.” S.C. Res. 955, pmbl., U.N. Doc. S/RES/955 (Nov. 8, 1994). Lack of information likely also contributes to distortions promoted by those opposed to the work of the tribunals, including elites and former perpetrators attempting to sway public opinion against them. 91See Fletcher & Weinstein, supra note 83, at 32.

Much has therefore been said about the potential for more and better outreach. 92See, e.g., Ramji-Nogales, supra note 10, at 29–38; Etelle R. Higonnet, Restructuring Hybrid Courts: Local Empowerment and National Criminal Justice Reform, 23 Ariz. J. Int’l Comp. L. 347, 347, 363–76, 387–88, 410–13, 425 (2006). However, even a well staffed, well funded, and brilliantly executed outreach program can only do so much to bridge the substantial gap that can exist between local populations and international justice efforts. Outreach alone does little to address the marginalization of local agency, priorities, values, and practice in the set up and operation of the tribunals and carries with it a subtext of locals as passive recipients of international justice discourse and practice. Outreach does not, for example, change the fact that Rwandans are being judged outside of Rwanda by non-Rwandans using Western-style judicial practices that not all Rwandans agree with or understand. Further, this judgment takes place in an international tribunal that has primacy over national proceedings within Rwanda, the very creation of which was opposed by the Rwandan government in the first place. 93See infra text accompanying note 81 (discussing the reasons for the Rwandan government’s opposition to the creation of the tribunal). It also does not change the fact that defendants found guilty by the ICTR will serve their sentences outside of Rwanda in conditions far superior to that of anyone found guilty on similar charges by Rwanda’s national courts. 94The disparate treatment of defendants and those convicted has been a source of some resentment in Rwanda as it gives the impression that the “big fish” who orchestrated the genocide are being given better treatment than “rank-and-file” offenders. See Jennie E. Burnet, The Injustice of Local Justice: Truth, Reconciliation, and Revenge in Rwanda, 3 Genocide Stud. & Prevention 173, 175 (2008). Outreach does not change the fact that, at the end of the day, “neither the Rwandan government nor the international community has solicited the views of the Rwandan population” regarding how justice should best be achieved in post-genocide Rwanda. 95Longman, supra note 83, at 206. Thus, while being better informed about a distant process is better than being wholly ignorant, it is still very different than having a meaningful say about the setup and implementation of justice processes that might deeply affect a community.

Of course, one could debate to what extent international tribunals should spend valuable time and resources trying to be more communicative, to be more connected to local communities, and to pursue wider social aims beyond delivering judgments. 96See, e.g., Marlies Glasius, Do International Criminal Courts Require Democratic Legitimacy?, 23 Eur. J. of Int’l L. 43 (2012) (reviewing critiques of international courts). There may indeed be cause to be modest in our expectations for what a tribunal can meaningfully accomplish given historic resource limitations and established bureaucratic incentives and priorities. 97See Padraig McAuliffe, Hybrid Tribunals at Ten: How International Criminal Justice’s Golden Child Became an Orphan, 7 J. Int’l L. & Int’l Rel. 1, 64 (2011) (arguing that without a significant re-orientation of the priorities of international criminal justice policymakers, expectations for tribunals should be lowered). Yet one danger in not doing a better job engaging in questions of locality than the ICTY and ICTR is a potential loss of legitimacy and a sense that the tribunals are little more than a “theoretical exercise in developing international humanitarian law.” 98See Fletcher & Weinstein, supra note 83, at 30. While scrupulously run proceedings and eventual convictions are unquestionably important, a process viewed by locals with indifference (at best) to hostility (at worst) would seem to represent a lost opportunity when it comes to deeper projects of accountability and the rule of law associated with long-term peacebuilding.

Following the many challenges, successes, and failures of the ad-hoc tribunals, a new international tribunal model emerged, that of the so-called “hybrid” or “mixed” tribunals of Sierra Leone (Special Court for Sierra Leone), Kosovo (“Regulation 64” Panels in the Courts of Kosovo), East Timor (the Serious Crimes Panels of the District Court of Dili), and Cambodia (the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia). 99A great deal has been written about the establishment, functioning, and failures of hybrid tribunals. See, e.g., McAuliffe, supra note 97; Cohen, supra note 88, at 5–6; Higonnet, supra note 92, at 347. Unlike the ICTY and ICTR, hybrid tribunals are generally located in the country most affected by the conflict, and are comprised of national and international judges and staff. 100There have been slight deviations from this norm. The trial of Charles Taylor before the Special Court for Sierra Leone was held in The Hague, due primarily to fears about security. See generally Giulia Bigi, The Decision of the Special Court for Sierra Leone to Conduct the Charles Taylor Trial in The Hague, 6 The Law and Prac. of Int’l Cts. & Tribunals 303 (2007). This model was initially greeted with some enthusiasm, being thought to hold the promise of greater local legitimacy, greater norm penetration at the local level, and stronger ability for local capacity building—including strengthening domestic judicial systems. 101McAuliffe, supra note 97, at 10–22. In the literature, they are often presented as a sort of evolution from and response to the failures and critiques of the ad-hoc tribunals, 102See Cohen, supra note 88, at 1; Olga Martin-Ortega & Johanna Herman, Hybrid Tribunals: Interaction and Resistance in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cambodia, in Hybrid Forms of Peace: From Everyday Agency to Post-Liberalism 73 (Oliver Richmond & Audra Mitchell eds., 2012). representing a sort of middle ground that harnesses the power and legitimacy of international law, remains connected to local expertise and populations, while avoiding the staggering costs of purely international prosecutions. 103Higonnet, supra note 92, at 349 (outlining the potential power of hybrid tribunals in theory if not reality); Ellen Stensrud, New Dilemmas in Transitional Justice: Lessons from the Mixed Courts in Sierra Leone and Cambodia, 46 J. Peace Res. 5, 7 (2009) (arguing that “[t]he combination of international standards through U.N. involvement and local ownership through physical proximity and national participation may increase the legitimacy of these mechanisms”). Yet closer study of the creation of the various hybrid tribunals reveals a process of quick decisions and tough compromises more than a conscious process of experimentation as part of an effort to improve upon past failures. 104McAuliffe, supra note 97, at 23. It should also be noted that the exceptional cost of the ad-hoc tribunals (which represented a full fifteen percent of the U.N. budget at the time of the creation of the hybrid tribunals) made the possibility of creating additional courts modeled on the ICTY and ICTR impossible as a practical matter. 105George Yacoubian, Evaluating the Efficacy of the International Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia: Implications for Criminology and International Criminal Law, 165 World Aff. 133, 136 (2003). Thus, the narrative of progress and institutional learning regarding the best relationship between tribunals and the local may not be as straightforward as once imagined.

Over a decade after the enthusiasm that greeted the first hybrid tribunals, evaluations of their success have become more circumspect. McAuliffe argues that some of the hybrid tribunals were often more hybrid in principle than in practice. 106See McAuliffe, supra note 97, at 36 (noting that the hybrid tribunals were “hybrid in form but never in ethos.”); Higonnet, supra note 92, at 349. That is, far from being paragons of shared or local ownership, in the case of a number of the tribunals, “domestic authorities were largely marginalized or disengaged” while internationals dominated the process. 107McAuliffe, supra note 97, at 36. This may have resulted in part from ambiguity over allocation of responsibility and in part out of a seeming reluctance by some national governments to share blame and responsibility. 108See id. at 35 (2011); see also Cohen, supra note 88, at 36 (discussing challenges arising from unclear or contested ownership). Compounding matters, tribunals in Sierra Leone, East Timor, and Cambodia have also been severely underfunded, particularly when it comes to activities such as outreach. 109Cohen, supra note 88, at 36.

If the ad hoc tribunals orbited in space, 110Mutua, supra note 82, at 168. the hybrid tribunals have been described as a “spaceship phenomenon,” with the tribunals’ physical headquarters a strange and alien hive of activity largely seen as an irrelevant curiosity by the local population. 111Tom Perriello & Marieke Wierda, The Special Court for Sierra Leone Under Scrutiny, Prosecutions Case Study Series, International Center for Transitional Justice, New York, 2 (2006) (defining the spaceship phenomenon as “a Court that is perceived as a curiosity and an anomaly with little impact on citizens’ everyday lives.”). In practice, some critics argue, far from being the goldilocks solution some had hoped for that brings together the best of the global and the local, hybrid tribunals may sometimes turn out to be the worst of both worlds, joining the remoteness of purely international tribunals like the ICTR and ICTY with the shoestring budgets and occasional lack of rigor that can at times stymie purely local efforts. 112See, e.g., Caitlin Reiger, Hybrid Attempts at Accountability for Serious Crimes in Timor Leste, in Transitional Justice in the twenty-first Century: beyond truth versus justice 143–70 (Naomi Roht-Arriaza & Javier Mariezcurrena eds., 2006). Thus, while hybrid tribunals as a model continue to hold much promise, 113Higonnet, supra note 92, at 349. some have argued that without a radical shift in priorities and funding, we may need to be modest in our expectations as to what they can accomplish beyond the fairly straightforward work of trying defendants and rendering judgments. 114McAuliffe, supra note 97, at 53–65.

Given that enthusiasm for hybrid tribunals has waned and additional ad hoc tribunals modeled on the ICTR and ICTY seem unlikely for the foreseeable future, the ability of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to better engage with questions of locality and to avoid some of the failures of the past becomes especially important. 115This is not to deemphasize the importance of national-level or “domestic” human rights prosecutions. Indeed, Kathryn Sikkink has shown that the worldwide crescendo of human rights prosecutions in recent decades rests upon a bedrock of national trials. See Sikkink, supra note 29, at 21. Yet as a model, the institution created by the Rome Statute seems to harken back to Nuremburg and the ad hoc tribunals, suggesting, even in the absence of any practice, that the potential to generate significant global-local frictions would be high. 116See generally Rome Statute, supra note 72. One obvious but notable distinction between the ad hoc tribunals and the ICC is that while the former were created by fiat of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), accession to the Rome Statute is voluntary, even if the UNSC retains the power to refer cases involving non-state parties to the Court under Article 13(b). In addition, provisions in the Rome Statute relating to victim access, participation, and compensation, as well as some flexibility as to where the court may sit represent a distinct improvement compared to the ad hoc tribunals, at least in principle. For review of the Court’s outreach work in practice, see Marlies Glasius, What is Global Justice and Who Decides? Civil Society and Victim Responses to the International Criminal Court’s First Investigations, 31 Hum. Rts. Q. 496, 509–20 (2009). Indeed, with a headquarters far removed both physically and culturally from the conflicts and perpetrators it has addressed, the ICC’s first decade of practice has been regularly punctuated by what one could characterize as a clash between global and local. 117Thus far, all of the Court’s official investigations are in Africa: Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Sudan (Darfur), and Uganda. See ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s website, http://www.icc-cpi.int (follow “English;” then follow “Structure of the Court;” then follow “Office of the Prosecutor”). Though it has yet to take advantage of it, it should be noted that a degree of flexibility has been built into the Rome Statute, allowing the Court to sit in locations outside of The Hague. See Rome Statute, supra note 72, art. 3 (While “[t]he seat of the Court shall be established at The Hague in the Netherlands,” “[t]he Court may sit elsewhere, whenever it considers it desirable.”). Judges at the ICC have recently suggested that it might be desirable to hold portions of a trial against Kenyan officials in either Kenya or neighboring Tanzania. ICC Delays Cases of William Ruto and Laurent Gbagbo, BBC News (June 3, 2013), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22762283. In Uganda, for example, some members of Acholi constituencies in the North have expressed a strong preference for using local reconciliation and reintegration practices to address crimes committed by former members of the Lord’s Resistance Army rather than the ICC’s retributive justice. 118See Tim Murithi, African Approaches to Building Peace and Social Solidarity, 6 Afr. J. on Conflict Res. 9, 23–27 (2006). Regarding Kenya, a variety of African states and the African Union (AU) have attempted to pressure the Court to drop charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, with the AU chairman going so far as to accuse the ICC of being racist for only prosecuting cases in Africa. 119 ICC Delays Cases of William Ruto and Laurent Gbagbo, BBC News (June 3, 2013), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22762283; Jenny Vaughan and Aude Genet, Africa Closes Ranks to Condemn “Racist” ICC on Kenya Cases, AFP (May 27, 2013). Perspectives among ordinary Kenyans are highly varied, ranging from support for the ICC’s work in Kenya, to ambivalence, to opposition. See generally Thomas Obel Hansen, Kenya’s Power-Sharing Arrangement and Its Implications for Transitional Justice, 17 Int’l J. of Hum. Rts. 307 (2013). Regarding Sudan, members of the African Union voted to refuse cooperation with the indictment of Omar Al-Bachir. 120See African Union in Rift with Court, BBC NEWS (July 3, 2009), http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8133925.stm. Taken together, “declining enthusiasm for the Court,” particularly in Africa, constitutes a serious challenge to the future health and legitimacy of the fledgling institution, highlighting the importance of taking questions of locality seriously. 121See William Schabas, The Banality of International Justice, 11 J. Int’l J. Crim. Just. 545 (2013).

It would be easy to write off some criticism of the ICC as a sort of rearguard effort by autocratic leaders and regimes to preserve some of the privileges and impunity associated with power. Indeed, as demonstrated in Kenya, support for the work of the Court may at times be higher among ordinary citizens than in segments of a self-interested political class, even if the views of the former are eventually susceptible to elite manipulation. 122See generally Hansen, supra note 119, at 307. At the same time, one should note that the possibility of having a former president or senior official tried for human rights abuses in a foreign country, or before an international tribunal, has almost always generated significant tensions and feelings of ambivalence, from Augusto Pinochet, to Charles Taylor, to Laurent Gbagbo today. 123Consider in this regard the potential controversy if George W. Bush or Donald Rumsfeld were arrested and put on trial outside of the United States. The possibility of similar scenarios helped spawn the American Service-Members Protection Act of 2002, 22 U.S.C. § 7427, a federal law adopted “to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not party.” It authorizes the President to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court.” Because “all means necessary” would not seem to preclude the use of force, the law has been nicknamed the “Hague Invasion Act.” See US: “Hague Invasion Act” Becomes Law, Human Rights Watch (Aug. 3, 2002), http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2002/08/03/us-hague-invasion-act-becomes-law. Thus, one should expect that prosecutions of the type carried out by the ICC will generate controversy even in the best of circumstances.

However, though important, overemphasis of these factors would serve to ignore some of the deeper issues driving the global-local frictions that seem to plague the Court’s work, issues stemming from the way global and local responsibilities and powers are structured under the Rome Statute. Put simply, the very architecture the Rome Statute hinges on a delicate compromise between global and local sovereignty in matters of justice. 124See Rosalind Shaw & Lars Waldorf, Introduction, in Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities After Mass Violence 19 (Rosalind Shaw & Lars Waldorf eds., 2010) (describing the ICC as “an uneasy and unstable compromise between international justice and state sovereignty”). Under the principle of complementarity, sometimes described as the “cornerstone” of the Rome Statute, member states exercise primary but only conditional sovereignty in matters of justice, with power effectively ceded to the ICC where a member is “unwilling or unable” to prosecute a case itself. 125See Rome Statute, supra note 72, at art. 17; Thomas Obel Hansen, A Critical Review of the ICC’s Recent Practice Concerning Admissibility Challenges and Complementarity, 13 Melbourne J. Int’l L. 217 (2012) (noting that “[T]he principle of complementarity . . . has often been pointed to as the cornerstone of the Rome Statute”). The phrase “unwilling or unable” is defined in only the broadest terms in the Statute, but under the Court’s emerging jurisprudence, it has largely come to pivot on a determination of inactivity. See id. at 218. The “unwilling or unable” standard echoes other emerging international norms and practices associated with the “responsibility to protect” and the US war on terror that are serving to reconfigure the relationship between global and local by replacing traditional notions of sovereignty with a sense of conditionality. 126Consider, for example, the various formulations of the emerging principle of the responsibility to protect, or “R2P,” where a nation state’s sovereignty effectively becomes conditional on its ability or willingness to protect its people from mass atrocities. See The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, The Responsibility to Protect xi (2001) (providing that while “primary responsibility” for protection lies with each individual state, “the principle of non-intervention yields to the international responsibility to protect” where the state is “unwilling or unable” to protect its people from serious harm); U.N. Secretary-General, Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, para. 201 U.N. Doc. A/59/565 (Dec. 2, 2004) (noting that there “is a growing acceptance that while sovereign Governments have the primary responsibility to protect their own citizens . . . when they are unable or unwilling to do so that responsibility should be taken up by the wider international community . . . .”). The threshold for intervention was arguably raised in 2005 with the language adopted in the World Summit Outcome Document where it was agreed that national authorities must “manifestly fail” to protect before intervention is warranted. G.A. Res. 60/1, para. 139, U.N. Doc. A/RES/60/1 (Sept. 15, 2005). Beyond R2P, a similar construction of a conditional sovereignty can be seen in the Obama Administration’s controversial claim to the right to unilaterally pursue and kill targets in states without consent if that country is deemed “unable or unwilling to suppress” what the United States believes to be a threat. See Department of Justice White Paper: Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qa’ida or an Associated Force, NBC News (2013), http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/020413_DOJ_White_Paper.pdf. Both R2P and the Obama administration’s terrorism policy might be considered to be an expression of a larger post Cold War trend where the “transformation of the adversary into a criminal [has] permitted, in the name of protecting humanity, intervention beyond state boundaries.” Pierre Hazan, Transitional Justice after September 11, in Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities After Mass Violence 52 (Rosalind Shaw & Lars Waldorf eds., 2010).

While the principle of complementarity is in many ways a form of deference to the local, and stands in contrast to the primacy of jurisdiction exercised by the ad hoc tribunals, it also establishes a potential tension between the global and the local insofar as it invites the Court to stand as ultimate arbiter as to the adequacy of local effort and capacity. 127See Rome Statute, supra note 72, at art. 87(7); see also Alexander Greenawalt, Complementarity in Crisis: Uganda, Alternative Justice, and the International Criminal Court, 50 Va. J. Int’l 107, 110 (2009). Aside from deference, it should be noted that the principle of complementarity also acknowledges the reality that the ICC is a court of limited jurisdiction without the resources to address the great bulk of the world’s human rights atrocities. The principle of complementarity would also seem to preclude local approaches to atrocity that differ from a retributivist approach in some instances. 128See Greenawalt, supra note 127, at 141–44. Consider in this regard the possible response of the ICC not just to a local pardon or grant of amnesty, but an effort to address offenses using restorative, “traditional,” or otherwise alternative local practices of justice and reconciliation. 129Some scholars take exception to the word “traditional” as a description of such practices because it can imply that they are static and because it can also have pejorative implications. As noted in Part IV, infra., “traditional” practices used in the modern-day transitional justice context tend to be adaptations of much older forms of local justice and reconciliation practices. In instances without concurrent prosecutions, would such alternative approaches to justice be tantamount to “unwilling or unable” under the terms of the Rome Statute? While former Chief Prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo has suggested that there should be great flexibility when it comes to lower-level offenders and the modalities of justice applied, the possibility for deviating from international retributivism when it comes to high-level offenders is less clear. 130See Greenawalt, supra note 127, at 141–44.

Building upon the principle of complementarity and the notion of the primary responsibility of national governments, the ICC has no enforcement mechanisms of its own, but is completely dependent on state cooperation to carry out investigations and enforce its judgments. 131See Charles Jalloh, What Makes a Crime Against Humanity a Crime Against Humanity, 28 Am. U. Int’l L. Rev. 381, 419 (2013). Particularly in cases of self-referral under Article 14 of the Rome Statute, this can create special challenges to the Court’s legitimacy as ICC intervention is played through the prism of local politics. 132Under Article 14(1), “A State Party may refer to the Prosecutor a situation in which one or more crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court appear to have been committed requesting the Prosecutor to investigate the situation for the purpose of determining whether one or more specific persons should be charged with the commission of such crimes.” Rome Statute, supra note 72, at art. 14(1). In Uganda, for example, a 2003 referral by the Ugandan government resulted in the indictment of senior-level commanders in the Lord’s Resistance Army. 133See generally, Tim Allen, Trial Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Lord’s Resistance Army (2006). This referral proved divisive for several reasons. First, the action arguably subverts local judicial and reconciliation practices in Northern Uganda where segments of the population would prefer the use of customary justice practices to the Western retributive justice of the ICC. 134See Branch, supra note 45, at 195. It should be noted, however, that the Acholi population is not a monolith, and there are also segments of the population that support ICC intervention. See Id. at 192. Second, because it would seem to turn a blind eye to violations committed by the Ugandan army at the height of the civil war in Northern Uganda, potentially giving the impression that the ICC is taking sides in a conflict rather than meting out impartial justice. 135See Branch, supra note 45, at 187–90. The suggestion of partiality was not helped when then Chief Prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo appeared at a joint press conference in London with President Museveni in January 2004. See Michael Otim & Marieke Wierda, Justice at Juba: International Obligations and Local Demands in Northern Uganda, in Courting Conflict? Justice, Peace and the ICC in Africa 22 (Nicholas Waddell and Phil Clark eds., 2008). There are also suggestions that it was actually Moreno-Ocampo who first persuaded Museveni to file the “self-referral” in the first place, further giving the impression of some kind of unseemly partnership. See Phil Clark, Law, Politics and Pragmatism: The ICC and Case Selection in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, in Courting Conflict? Justice, Peace and the ICC in Africa 43 (Nicholas Waddell and Phil Clark eds., 2008). Similarly, in Côte d’Ivoire, former President Laurent Gbagbo stands indicted as an indirect co-perpetrator of crimes against humanity while crimes committed by forces loyal to his erstwhile political opponent, current president Alassane Ouattara, are largely overlooked. 136See Human Rights Watch, Turning Rhetoric into Reality: Accountability for Serious International Crimes in Cote d’Ivoire 10 (2013), available at http://www.hrw.org/reports/2013/04/03/turning-rhetoric-reality-0; see also Pascal Airault, Côte d’Ivoire – CPI: Gbagbo ou le Bénéfice du Doute, Jeune Afrique, (June 14, 2013) http://www.jeuneafrique.com/Article/JA2735p010-012.xml0/. In this and other cases, it may prove difficult for the ICC to serve as a credible check on state power while needing to tread lightly enough to ensure local cooperation. 137See Janine Natalya Clark, Peace, Justice and the International Criminal Court: Limitations and Possibilities, 9 J. Int’l Crim. Just. 521, 527–29 (2011).

Both the Ugandan and Ivorian cases illustrate one of the key challenges for the ICC and international tribunals more generally vis-à-vis the local. To stand wholly aloof and independent from the local invites mistrust and misunderstanding, ultimately undercutting the potential to do more than develop abstract international legal precedents. Yet the ICC is also dependent on the local for its day-to-day work, and this carries with it the possibility of playing into local political agendas that may further notions of victor’s justice, besmirch the impartiality and credibility of the ICC, and play into narratives that would see in the ICC a Western project that picks winners and plays favorites. 138See Glasius, supra note 116, at 519 (arguing that “[o]n the basis of current indictments [the ICC prosecutor] could even be accused of exercising victor’s justice . . . He has helped governments, including some that are none too friendly to human rights, to constrain rebels and rogue states under the banner of international law.”). What seems clear is that an international tribunal that ignores the complexity of local context (history, politics, culture, etc.) does so at its own peril. 139For this reason, it has been argued that a “stakeholder assessment” employing qualitative interviews, ethnographies, focus groups, or population-based surveys should be carried out prior to a transitional justice intervention in order to discern local preferences, values, and cultural knowledge. See Ramji-Nogales, supra note 10, at 63–67. Nogales argues that under this model, the ICC prosecutor “would issue an indictment only if the population expresses a preference for international prosecutions in a distant location.” Id. at 70. While efforts along these lines to gain a greater appreciation of context would be a welcome step forward in many instances, at the same time, in the case of a potential ICC intervention based on a self-referral by a national government, this would raise some serious questions about sovereignty in the context of international justice. Even where a government might not be fully representative or a population divided, one could ask whether it is appropriate for an international treaty-based institution to do an end run around a state party in this way. Building the legitimacy of transitional and post-conflict justice interventions over time will likely require an exquisite sensitivity to context, and this may, as Greenawalt has argued, “call for as much, if not more, open-ended political assessment and balancing than for legal expertise.” 140See Greenawalt, supra note 127, at 159.

While the dilemmas of the global and the local are perhaps most acute in the realm of international and mixed tribunals, truth commissions often raise similar issues, though perhaps in more subtle ways. Over the last thirty years, the truth commission has become a truly global phenomenon, with some forty commissions having been created, and new ones emerging on a fairly regular basis. 141In her authoritative book on the topic, Priscilla Hayner documents the existence of forty modern-day truth commissions. Hayner, supra note 28, at 256–62. Since that volume’s publication, new commissions have emerged in Côte d’Ivoire and Brazil. See International Center for Transitional Justice, http://www.ictj.org/our-work/regions-and-countries/cote-divoire (last visited Sept. 19, 2014); see also Transitional Justice in Brazil, http://transitionaljusticeinbrazil.com/truth-commission-brazil/ (last visited Sept. 6, 2014). Though their mandates, composition, and powers vary greatly, most truth commissions attempt to accomplish three essential tasks: (1) diagnosing “what went wrong” in the lead up to the conflict or period of abuses; (2) documenting and analyzing the human rights abuses that were perpetrated; and (3) offering prescriptions for the future with a view to preventing recurrence of conflict. 142Sharp, supra note 62, at 84–90.

These tasks would seem to require an approach that is much more open-ended, context sensitive, and participatory than most tribunals. And indeed, truth commissions tend to be located in the affected region, largely staffed by locals, and typically involve the direct participation of a greater number of members of the affected public than a tribunal. 143There has been at least one call for a permanent international truth commission. See generally, Michael Scharf, The Case for a Permanent International Truth Commission, 7 Duke J. Comp. & Int’l L. 375 (1997). That said, as Hayner has noted, “[m]ost truth commissions are predominantly national, in both commission members and staff.” Hayner, supra note 28, at 214–15. A notable exception is El Salvador where the truth commission was under the administration and oversight of the United Nations, with an entirely foreign staff and set of commissioners. Id. at 214. At the same time, as Rama Mani has noted, owing to restricted mandates and budgets, participation of the local population can still be quite limited, and the dissemination of reports can be erratic, incomplete, or even nonexistent. 144Rama Mani, Rebuilding an Inclusive Political Community After War, 36 Sec. Dialogue 511, 519 (2005). Nevertheless, truth commissions have, by and large, been spared the trenchant critiques directed toward tribunals vis-à-vis their rather clumsy engagement with the local.

Yet there is also a sense in which truth commissions have become part of a global project rather than a local initiative, a box to tick on post-conflict checklist funded by international donors and assisted by a shadow staff of international consultants, rather than the result of a home-grown push for the particular type of truth and accountability that a truth commission can deliver. 145See David Mendeloff, Truth-Seeking, Truth-Telling, and Postconflict Peacebuilding: Curb the Enthusiasm?, 6 Int’l Stud. Rev. 355, 355–56 (2004) (noting that truth-telling is increasingly considered a necessary component of the post-conflict peacebuilding process, together with demobilization, disarmament, and the holding of postwar elections). One might consider in this regard the truth commission in East Timor, established not by domestic actors, but by a legal act of the UN’s Human Rights Unit, 146See Carsten Stahn, Justice Under Transitional Administration: Contours and Critique of a Paradigm, 27 Hous. J. Int’l L. 311, 335–36 (2005). or the extremely close association between the International Center for Transitional Justice and the work of the Moroccan Equity and Reconciliation Commission (Instance Équité et Réconciliation). 147See Mark Freeman & Veerle Opgenhaffen, Int’l Ctr. Transitional Just., Transitional Justice in Morocco: A Progress Report 2–3 (November 2005), http://ictj.org/sites/default/files/ICTJ-Morocco-Progress-Report-2005-English.pdf; see also Morocco, ICTY’s Role, Int’l Ctr. Transitional Just., http://ictj.org/our-work/regions-and-countries/morocco (last visited July 22, 2013). The result may often be a truth-seeking process that is not as attuned to local needs and realities as one might expect. Thus, Cavallaro and Albuja observe that in some respects truth commissions tend to hew to a “dominant script” that has been established over time not because it was necessarily perfectly attuned to each new context, but as a result of “repeated information exchange and consultations.” 148Cavallaro & Albuja, supra note 62, at 125. Funding from international donors, training workshops by international NGOs, and the occasional “technical assistance” provided by international consultants likely contribute to this phenomenon.

More fundamentally, anthropologist Rosalind Shaw has argued that the truth commission as a global phenomenon is rooted in Western modes of truth telling and traditions of public confession and may not be appropriate in cultures with a different historical grounding. 149See generally Rosalind Shaw, Rethinking Truth and Reconciliation Commissions; Lessons from Sierra Leone (United States Institute for Peace Special Report 130, 2005). In Sierra Leone, for example, many people preferred a “forgive and forget” approach grounded in local practices of memory, healing, and social forgetting. 150See id. at 9. Similarly, in Mozambique, Mani argues, the desire to remember the truth did not even exist. 151Mani, supra note 144, at 519. The prevailing sentiment seemed to be that “the less we dwell on the past, the more likely reconciliation will be,” and traditional cleansing rituals were used to help reintegrate combatants into their communities and at the sites of massacres. 152Hayner, supra note 28, at 197–203. Assumptions about the purportedly universal benefits of verbally remembering violence that appear to undergird the work of most truth commissions, Shaw argues, may undermine and serve to displace these alternative approaches to dealing with the past. 153See Rosalind Shaw, Rethinking Truth and Reconciliation Commissions; Lessons from Sierra Leone, Special Rep. for the U.S. Inst. of Peace, Feb. 2005, at 1, available at http://www.usip.org/resources/rethinking-truth-and-reconciliation-commissions-lessons-sierra-leone. This may explain why many Sierra Leoneans attending truth commission hearings appeared to be less than enthusiastic about the process, though Kelsall notes that some hearings may have had unintended benefits once locals started to transform them through the incorporation of a process of community ritual. 154See generally Kelsall, supra note 46, at 361.

From this, it can be said that many of the assumptions of truth commissions—including the notion that personal healing promotes national healing, that truth-telling promotes reconciliation, and that forgetting the past necessarily leads to war—even if valid in some contexts and cultures, may not hold in others. For these and other reasons, Mendeloff argues that one should not be so quick to proclaim the necessity of truth commission in the aftermath of violent conflict. 155See generally Mendeloff, supra note 145, at 355. As with tribunals, the need for context-specific approaches that take into account questions of local ownership, agency, priorities, values, and practices must be given greater weight if truth-seeking practices and institutions are to live up to their many promises. 156See id. at 358–61 (2004) (outlining claims made with respect to the beneficial effects of truth commissions on social healing and reconciliation, justice, the official historical record, public education, institutional reform, democracy, and deterrence).

III. The Promises and Pitfalls of the Local

Ultimately, no rule of law reform, justice reconstruction, or transitional justice initiative imposed from the outside can hope to be successful or sustainable . . . [w]e must learn better how to respect and support local ownership, local leadership and a local constituency for reform, while at the same time remaining faithful to United Nations norms and standards.

—U.N. Secretary-General, The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies, U.N. Doc. S/2004/616, ¶ 17 (Aug. 23, 2004).

If an imperious global justice has in some contexts been stymied by a ham-fisted engagement with the local that has served to blunt both legitimacy and effectiveness, making the global in some ways part of the problem, can it be that giving greater weight to principles like “local ownership” will lead to better solutions in the transitional justice context? Within U.N. policy literature in particular, the concept of local ownership has become nearly sacrosanct, with incantations to the local found across range of policy documents. 157A 2011 U.N. report on the rule of law together with annexes invokes the word “ownership” no less than 17 times. See U.N. Secretary-General, Strengthening and Coordinating United Nations Rule of Law Activities, U.N. Doc. A/66/133 (August 8, 2011). While this may be an extreme example, Simon Chesterman, who has written widely about the concept of ownership in post-conflict peacebuilding, has noted that “[e]very U.N. mission and development programme now stresses the importance of local ‘ownership.’” Chesterman, supra note 1, at 41. The concept itself is often traced to the field of economic development, and represents the evolution in some ways of concepts like participatory development. See Chesterman, supra note 9, at 7; see also Benjamin de Carvalho & Niels Nagelhus Schia, Local and National Ownership in Post-Conflict Liberia: Foreign and Domestic Inside Out? 3, 6 (Security in Practice, NUPI Working Paper No. 787, 2011). Some see in the prominence of the concept an attempt to paper over the legitimacy crisis in U.N. peacekeeping and peacebuilding, sparked in part by criticism emphasizing their neo-colonial and overly Western character. 158See id. at 1–6. But whatever the exact impetus, it is painfully clear that rhetorical tribute to local ownership has often failed to translate into meaningful changes “on the ground,” making the concept superficial and slippery in practice. 159See Donais, supra note 9, at 5; see also Chesterman, supra note 9, at 9. Indeed, far short of giving meaningful content to “ownership,” Longman has argued that “[g]overnments and international institutions, such as the United Nations, rarely, if ever, consult affected populations when formulating policies aimed at rebuilding post-war societies.” Longman, supra note 83, at 206. But see Anna Triponel & Stephen Pearson, What do You Think Should Happen? Public Participation in Transitional Justice, 22 Pace Int’l L. Rev. 103 (2010) (examining a trend toward increasing public consultation in the set up phase of transitional justice mechanisms). At the same time, because of the intellectual currency that the concept has achieved in donor and policy circles, it continues to be invoked by different actors in different ways to assert influence over post-conflict policy processes. 160See Patricia Lundy, Exploring Home-Grown Transitional Justice and Its Dilemmas: A Case Study of the Historical Enquiries Team, Northern Ireland, 3 Int’l J. Transitional Just. 321, 329 (2009) (arguing that “the concept of local/home-grown transitional justice is capable of being expropriated and manipulated to mask or serve other interests and ‘unjust’ practices”). Bendix and Stanley, for example, observe that in the context of security sector reform donors demand local ownership to legitimize donor-driven policy prescriptions, local governments demand local ownership to secure their own power and influence, and non-state actors want local ownership as a means to give themselves access to the policy process. 161Bendix & Stanley, supra note 8, at 101.

Taken together, local ownership has become something of an empty signifier, employed by nearly everyone, while at the same time remaining vague and poorly understood. 162Chesterman, supra note 9, at 7–10. Yet the opacity of the concept does not diminish its importance. As Donais has argued, “there are real limits on the ability of outsiders to shape, direct, and influence events within states emerging from conflict,” meaning that there is no real alternative to substantive local ownership over the longer term. 163See Donais, supra note 5, at 755, 772. International experts can run an international or hybrid tribunal in the short term and donors can fund a truth commission, but ultimately only “deep and locally owned social and political dynamics” can guarantee “well functioning institutions that produce substantive results.” 164See Uvin, supra note 14, at 186. Compounding matters, successful initiatives require the kind of profound local knowledge of context and culture that international actors almost never possess. 165Leopold von Carlowitz, Geneva Ctr. for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), Local Ownership in Practice: Justice systems reform in kosovo and liberia 54 (2011), available at http://www.dcaf.ch/content/download/35955/527124/files/op23.pdf (observing that while they often possess technical knowledge and professional skills, international actors mostly lack sufficient knowledge of local structures and traditions). Yet even with ample awareness of context, interventions felt to be imposed “from the outside” are more likely to be seen as illegitimate, raising the possibility of backlash and ill will towards reforms. 166Talentino, supra note 6, at 153. In this sense, the struggle to give greater significance to local ownership can be seen as profoundly pragmatic.

More fundamentally, however, the concept of local ownership raises important normative questions, asking us to consider whether people have the right to determine their own destiny and make their own mistakes. 167See Stahn, supra note 146, at 326; von Carlowitz, supra note 165, at 54 (observing that “local ownership might remain rhetoric because international actors are unwilling to allow their local counterparts to make their own mistakes.”); An-Na’im, supra note 39, at 199 (arguing that “the practice of justice for every society can only emerge through an indigenous process of trial and error.”). As Stahn observes, to even ask the question suggests a certain paternalism, 168Stahn, supra note 146, at 326. and could risk pathologizing and infantilizing entire post-war populations. 169See Vanessa Pupavac, Pathologizing Populations and Colonizing Minds: International Psychosocial Programs in Kosovo, 27 Alternatives: Global, Loc., Pol. 489, 490 (2002). The normative pull of principles of self-determination and democratic control emanating from the concept of local ownership is especially strong when you consider that even with the best of intentions, errors of intervention are likely, yet it is the locals who must live with and bear the costs of these errors over the long term. 170See Uvin, supra note 14, at 185 (2001); see also Stahn, supra note 146, at 329. International actors, in contrast, will pack their bags and move on to the next crisis. In this sense, the concept of local ownership asks us to recognize that if the goals of post-conflict peacebuilding include classic liberal goods of democracy, good governance, and the rule of law, divorcing control and agency over a set of post-conflict initiatives from accountability and cost bearing is ultimately a self-defeating exercise in contradiction. 171See Gerald Knaus & Felix Martin, Travails of the European Raj, 14 J. of Democracy 58, 64 (2003) (exploring tensions between unaccountable international intervention and the need to plant the seeds of democratic politics in Bosnia); see also Stahn, supra note 146, at 330 (exploring how the United Nations Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo absolved itself of legal checks on its power, making accountability a one-way street where locals are expected to bear the costs).

Despite its obvious importance, the turn to the locals in matters of post-conflict justice and peacebuilding is no panacea. In calling for better engagement with questions of locality, there is danger of propagating the myth of a virtuous local that may lead to a tendency to overlook its complexities. 172See Richmond, supra note 69, at 158–59; Mazlish, supra note 25, at 95. Even without such romanticization, making local ownership meaningful in the post-conflict context is extraordinarily challenging. The more intrusive international peace and justice interventions tend to often occur in regions where there has been a profound breakdown in local political and normative structures and ordering. 173Examples are not in short supply, but post-war Sierra Leone and Liberia would be among the more challenging of such contexts. In some cases, the formal institutions of governance have been hollowed out or have collapsed entirely, and much of the expertise that may have helped to re-build the country has fled, resulting in serious deficits in terms of capacity and technical expertise. 174As an example, the brutal Liberian civil war spanned more than a decade, resulting in the loss of as many as 250,000 lives and the displacement of 1 million individuals. These are staggering numbers for a country whose pre-war population numbered just over 2 million. See Sharp, supra note 62. In Rwanda, 10% of the population of 8 million had been killed and over 2 million had fled to neighboring countries. See Barbara Oomen, Donor-Driven Justice and its Discontents: The Case of Rwanda, 36 Dev. & Change 887, 900 (2005). Complicating matters further, with the ethnic, political, and economic cleavages that often result and continue in the aftermath of conflict, there is often no coherent set of “local owners” in the first place. 175See Donais, supra note 5, at 759; see also Edward Joseph, Ownership is Over-rated, 27 SAIS Rev. 109, 119 (2007) (contending that in some instances locals “do not take ownership of their problems primarily because they do not agree on who ought to be the owner.”). Indeed, it has been argued that “[p]ostconflict spaces, almost by definition, are characterized far more by diversity and division than by unity.” 176See Donais, supra note 5, at 759. In this context, post-conflict justice, like other interventions affecting distributions of power, can be utilized by post-war elites as a means of jockeying for gain, furthering partisan political agendas, and attempting to re-impose pre-conflict power structures that may be discriminatory or otherwise not consistent with international human rights standards. 177Of course, the dangers of insertion of self-interest by international elites into the peacebuilding process can be equally problematic. See Kristoffer Lidén, Roger Mac Ginty & Oliver P. Richmond, Introduction: Beyond Northern Epistemologies of Peace: Peacebuilding Reconstructed?, 16 Int’l Peacekeeping 587, 594 (2009); see also Knaus & Martin, supra note 171, at 66 (noting that like all institutions, international peacebuilding missions have a tendency to pursue self-interest). Ultimately, therefore, as one set of waggish commentators put it, “the local ownership championed by the international community is not local ownership tout court but local ownership of a specific kind: the good kind.” 178de Carvalho & Schia, supra note 157, at 3.

If the post-conflict waters are sewn with mines that serve to make local ownership difficult in practice, navigation is made all the more complex by the role, expectations, and financial power of the international actors drawn to the scene. Taking concepts like local ownership seriously necessitates significant additional time and expense, yet international actors and donors tend to be impatient and anxious for results. 179See Lucius Botes & Dingie van Rensburg, Community Participation in Development: Nine Plagues and Twelve Commandments, 35 Community Dev. J. 41, 50–51 (2000) (discussing the tensions in the context of development projects between pressures for results and the process demands of community participation); Stahn, supra note 146, at 336–37 (noting that greater local ownership with respect to judicial reconstruction in Afghanistan led to a slower process that was less protective of individual rights). At the same time, international standards for transitional justice interventions are institutionally demanding, tending to privilege technocratic expertise over deep local contextual knowledge. 180See Bosire, supra note 55, at 72. When coupled with global-local imbalances in terms of financial capacity, the end result is that all too often post-conflict justice interventions tend to place less of a premium on local ownership in practice than the global policy rhetoric would suggest.

Taken together, in many instances it may be said that true local ownership in the sense of full local agency and control is simply unrealistic. 181See Simon Chesterman, You, the People: The United Nations, Transitional Administration, and State-building 242 (2003). In the context of international and hybrid tribunals in particular, it may well be impossible. 182See Matthew Saul, Local Ownership of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda: Restorative and Retributive Effects, 12 Int’l Crim. L. Rev. 427, 434 (2012) (arguing that one cannot always assume that “more local ownership will always be desirable.” Rather, “it is possible that in some contexts where it is self-evident that there is a need for an international criminal tribunal, it might be in the best interests of the situation overall for there to not be any particular effort to incorporate local ownership into the establishment process.”). How, for example, could one truly have local ownership—again in the sense of agency and control—of a prosecution by the ICC, ICTY, or SCSL? 183In the case of the ICC, one might say that the opportunity for full local ownership effectively disappears the moment a state is deemed “unwilling or unable” to prosecute under the terms of Article 17 of the Rome Statute. Even outside the context of such tribunals, global power and funding structures, together with the momentum and politics of the international justice advocacy movement, would seem to suggest that some degree of international involvement is inevitable as a practical matter.

Building on this, it has been argued that in some cases full local ownership may not even be desirable, and that some degree of international involvement is necessary in at least a supporting role, if not more. 184See Joseph, supra note 175, at 115–16. In many instances for example, “local violent conflicts are no longer local or traditional in their causation or dynamics,” having been transformed by “interventions of regional and global actors.” 185An-Na’im, supra note 39, at 202. In such cases, simple concepts of “local solutions to local problems” would seem to fail to capture the complexity of the situation. There are also arguments that some kind of global-local balance is required due to “capacity gaps” and the possibility of excessive parochialism. 186See Joseph, supra note 175, at 115–16. Might it be, for example, that a better global-local balance in the trial of Saddam Hussein could have resulted in something less like a show-trial? 187Id. Similar weaknesses in the national judiciaries of Kosovo, East Timor, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia led, in part, to the creation of international hybrid tribunals. 188See McAuliffe, supra note 97, at 8–9, 24–28; see also Stahn, supra note 146, at 318–20 (reviewing some of the challenges of national courts that may bolster an argument for some international involvement). Finally, outside of the courtroom, other local experiments in transitional justice such as Gacaca in Rwanda, described in greater detail below, can and do conflict with international human rights standards—raising difficult questions about whether and how to balance individual freedoms against principles of self-determination. 189This dilemma is particularly acute in the case of Gacaca given the strong argument that it would have been impossible for Rwanda to comply with all international standards relating to accountability norms, victims’ rights, and due process.

For these and other reasons, while the local is often seen as one of the keys to the legitimacy of transitional justice initiatives, perceived legitimacy is in practice quite complex and there are no guarantees that a process will be seen as legitimate at any level simply because there is a high degree of local ownership. 190See Matthew Saul, supra note 182, at 434 (noting that an increase in local ownership could come with complications that can actually reduce legitimacy). Consider in this regard the example of Gacaca in Rwanda, which though locally owned in the sense of literal control by the Rwandan government, has minimal legitimacy in the eyes of many local constituencies. See Burnet, supra note 94, at 183, 188. In some instances, local constituencies might actually express a preference for an international prosecution, for example, due to perceptions that national courts are corrupt and lack independence. 191Observation based on the author’s experience documenting human rights violations in Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire for Human Rights Watch. In the end, therefore, too much local may raise as many questions as too much global. As Mazlish argues, the local cannot simply be used as a talisman to ward off all possible intervention. 192Mazlish, supra note 25, at 98–99. The world over, someone’s local has often given way to a larger local—with the dismantling of segregation in the Southern United Sates being one example—the results of which are hard to disagree with in the long term. 193Id.

Simply put, while there is no alternative to local ownership in the long run, in the short-run at least, local ownership may at times be an impossible ideal. If this makes for a very difficult needle to thread in terms of post-conflict programming, it may explain why so much of the literature on local ownership does little more than say that it is both important and hard. 194de Carvalho & Schia, supra note 157, at 3. At the policy level, the tendency in the face of these dilemmas is to elide complexity, with local ownership becoming a sort of cheap bureaucratic trope to signal the need for local “buy in” and support rather than meaningful input or control. 195See Chesterman, supra note 181, at 242 (arguing that in practice “ownership . . . is usually not intended to mean control and often does not even imply a direct input into political questions.”). Moving past this state of affairs in order to strike a better balance between global and local requires that we look more deeply into constructions of “global” and “local.”

IV. Striking a Better Balance Between Global and Local

For all of their importance, there is a sense in which the dilemmas of the global and the local are false dilemmas created by rigid intellectual categories. 196See Lundy, supra note 160, at 329 (cautioning against using the local in simply binary terms). As Goodale has observed, outside of the academic and policy literature, there is no place called “local” or “global”—any more than there is an “international plane,” an “international community,” or places called “on the ground” and “in the field,” yet these concepts are often spoken of as if they actually existed. 197See Mark Goodale, Locating Rights, Envisioning Law Between the Global and the Local, in The Practice of Human Rights 5, 15–16 (Mark Goodale & Sally Engle Merry eds., 2007). The global-local binary is also problematic insofar as it implies that there are only two levels at which social processes emerge or unfold, and insofar as it implicitly invokes a normative hierarchy and teleology. 198Id. at 14–15. Thus, both categories tend to essentialize and depoliticize sets of actors that are neither ideologically monolithic nor politically homogenous. For these and other reasons, some scholars have questioned the value of the concept of the local, arguing instead for more complicated notions of “glocality” and “translocality.” 199See Patricia Lundy, Paradoxes and Challenges of Transitional Justice at the “Local” Level: Historical Enquiries in Northern Ireland, 6 Contemporary Social Science 89, 93 (reviewing perspectives that seek to move beyond the “stark and mutually exclusive binary oppositions of ‘local’ and global that tend to dominate transitional justice literature.”); Mazlish, supra note 25, at 99.

Despite these problems, the global-local distinction remains a central theme in human rights discourse, and is useful for its ability to underscore power asymmetries in the transitional justice context. 200See Mark Goodale, Locating Rights, Envisioning Law Between the Global and the Local, in The Practice of Human Rights 5, 23 (Mark Goodale & Sally Engle Merry eds., 2007). Similarly, as a policy trope and as an ideal, the concept of the local can provide an important counterweight to the centralizing and universalizing tendencies of transitional justice and liberal international peacebuilding more generally. 201See Susan Thomson & Rosemary Nagy, Law, Power and Justice: What Legalism Fails to Address in the Functioning of Rwanda’s Gacaca Courts, 5 Int’l J. Transitional Just. 11, 23 (2010) (positioning the turn to the local in transitional justice as a “corrective to the shortcomings of internationalized, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approaches.” Id. at 11). There may therefore be times when it is useful to categorize and essentialize to avoid pushing power differentials to the background, somewhat in keeping with Spivak’s concept of “strategic essentialisms.” 202See Peterson, supra note 70, at 14. Thus, concepts of the local and the global retain utility for purposes of both analysis and policymaking, even if they do not accurately describe the full complexity of all transitional justice processes as they emerge and unfold. Working through the dilemmas of the local therefore requires a complicated analytical tightrope act. On the one hand, the global-local binary remains a useful construct for the reasons articulated. At the same time, understanding the complexity of global-local dynamics requires some deconstruction and destabilization, breaking down simple binary notions.

The analytical utility of breaking down simple binary notions of local and global can be illustrated by examining the Gacaca process in Rwanda. 203If focusing on the case of Gacaca, I do not mean to conflate the local with customary law and tradition or to suggest that the dilemmas of the local can be solved by mere incorporation of local ritual. Ultimately, giving greater weight to the local in matters of post-conflict justice must address the deeper and fundamental privileging of Western liberal responses to atrocity that may crowd out other ways of understanding and doing justice. Nevertheless, examination of the tensions associated with the embrace of local ritual and tradition as seen in the Gacaca process is useful to help complicate simplistic binary notions of global and local, and as an antidote to the romanticization of the local that initially accompanied Gacaca. See Oomen, supra note 174, at 903 (noting that there was “an element of Orientalism” in the appeal that Gacaca held for the international community). Historically, Gacaca served as a form of community-based informal arbitration employed to resolve minor disputes at the village level. 204There is an ample literature on Gacaca, including its historical origins and evolution. See generally Phil Clark, The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda: Justice Without Lawyers (2010); Burnet, supra note 94, at 177; Lars Waldorf, Mass Justice for Mass Atrocity: Rethinking Local Justice as Transitional Justice, 79 Temp. L. Rev. 1 (2006); Timothy Longman, Justice at the Grassroots? Gacaca Trials in Rwanda, in Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Truth Versus Justice 206, 206–28 (Naomi Roht-Arriaza & Javier Mariezcurrena eds., 2006). Following the arrests of suspected génocidaires in the years that followed the 1994 genocide, Rwanda’s prison population swelled to well over 130,000. 205See Burnet, supra note 94, at 177. These figures grossly overwhelmed the capacity of Rwanda’s legal system, creating the very realistic possibility that thousands of individuals would either die in Rwanda’s severely overcrowded prisons before they would be granted a trial, or need to be released without trial. 206See Des Forges & Longman, supra note 81, at 58. This led to pressure from a variety of actors to solve a very palpable human rights problem, and the idea adapting Gacaca to address genocide-related crimes emerged. 207See Burnet, supra note 206, at 175.

While its exact provenance is somewhat murky, the idea of using Gacaca may have arisen out of a conversation between a researcher for Human Rights Mission and some professors from the National University of Butare. 208Id. at 176. Alternatively, Oomen points to “evidence that it was representatives of the donor community who first raised the idea.” 209See Oomen, supra note 174, at 902. Others point to a 1996 report by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, which concluded that Gacaca might play a role in dealing with genocide-related crimes, but only as a sort of truth-seeking adjunct to the work of tribunals or a community reconciliation mechanism that should be buffered from too much government interference. 210See Bert Ingelare, The Gacaca Courts in Rwanda, in Traditional Justice and Reconciliation after Violent Conflict: Learning from African Experiences 25, 31–36. (Luc Huyse & Mark Salter eds., 2008). Whatever the precise origins, the idea of drafting Gacaca into national service to address Rwanda’s post-genocide justice challenges was eagerly seized upon by the Rwandan government and members of the international donor community. 211See Oomen, supra note 174, at 897 (noting the “massive support” on the part of donors for Gacaca).

As adopted and adapted, the Gacaca of “tradition” was effectively transformed by the Rwandan government from a relatively informal community-driven conflict-resolution mechanism to a modernized and formalized public punitive justice institution backed by the power of the state. 212In describing the ways in which Gacaca was adapted, I do not mean to suggest that its pre-genocide or “traditional” form was static. As noted by Luc Huyse, “traditional techniques, in Rwanda and in other African post-conflict countries, have been greatly altered in form and substances by the impact of colonization, modernization, and civil war.” Luc Huyse, Introduction: Tradition-based Approaches in Peacemaking, Transitional Justice, and Reconciliation Policies, in Traditional Justice and Reconciliation after Violent Conflict: Learning from African Experiences 1, 6–7 (Luc Huyse & Mark Salter eds., 2008). In this sense, the label “traditional” is potentially problematic insofar as it suggests a practice not subject to constant change. See id. at 7. Bert Ingelare argues that the “new” Gacaca is such a radical departure from the “old” that it represents an “invented tradition.” Ingelare, supra note 211, at 32. Others have suggested terms such as “reinvented tradition” and “neo-traditional.” Whereas pre-genocide Gacaca was not applied in cases of cattle theft, murder, or other serious crimes, it was adapted to complex circumstances involving mass atrocities and genocide. 213See Waldorf, supra note 205, at 48 (noting that “traditional gacaca generally did not treat cattle theft, murder, or other serious crimes, which were handled by chiefs or the king’s representatives”). This proved especially troubling to international human rights groups who questioned the lack of protections for the accused, minimal training for Gacaca judges, and issues of corruption, among other things. 214See Justice Compromised: The Legacy of Rwanda’s Community Based Gacaca Courts 4, Human Rights Watch (May 2011), http://www.hrw.org/reports/2011/05/31/justice-compromised-0.

Despite some of the controversy, Gacaca was initially welcomed by many outside Rwanda as a creative and pragmatic means to address a troubling backlog of cases relating to the 1994 genocide. 215For a more upbeat, though cautious assessment at the outset of the implementation of Gacaca, see generally Timothy Longman, supra note 205; see also Oomen, supra note 174, at 902 (noting that Gacaca was once heralded as “ground-breaking” and “revolutionary.”). It also appeared to enjoy widespread support by ordinary Rwandans. 216Paul Gready, Reconceptualizing Transitional Justice: Embedded and Distanced Justice, 5 Conflict, Security & Dev’t 3, 13 (2005). From a distance, it seemed to be the embodiment of a homegrown, locally owned, culturally embedded process—a Rwandan solution to Rwandan problems—yet this obfuscates some of the complex reality. 217See Christine Venter, Eliminating Fear through Recreating Community in Rwanda: the Role of the Gacaca Courts, 13 Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev. 577, 580 (2007) (describing Gacaca as a “uniquely Rwandan . . . grassroots [effort] to deal with the genocide . . . from the bottom up.”). Of course, the Rwandan government itself was also at some pains to present Gacaca as homegrown and locally devised. See Oomen, supra note 174, at 902. As noted, while loosely based on a traditional dispute resolution process and championed by the Rwandan government as the only possible solution, the impetus for Gacaca also owes much to discussion generated by Rwandan scholars, international human rights activists, and U.N. reports, to say nothing of sustained pressure from international NGOs and other entities to address Rwanda’s serious prison overcrowding problem. It was carried out in large part as a result of support from international donors. 218See generally Oomen, supra note 174, at 887. What was presented as “traditional” and “community based” was really a hybrid that moved “back and forth between” historical origins and capture by the nation state. 219Huyse, supra note 213, at 8. Thus, to adopt the neologism of some scholars, it might indeed be correct to say that the origins and unfolding of the Gacaca process were very much “glocal” or “translocal.” 220See Patricia Lundy, Paradoxes and Challenges of Transitional Justice at the “Local” Level: Historical Enquiries in Northern Ireland, 6 Contemporary Social Science 89, 93 (2011). In this way, the emergence and shaping of transitional justice processes might be seen as part of a continued dialectical process between multiple “levels”—global, regional, national, and community. Simple categories of global and local fail to capture this complexity.

The complex reality of transitional justice processes only serves to further illustrate just how problematic simple notions of local ownership really are. Just as the global-local binary must be questioned and blurred, making better sense of global-local dilemmas and interactions also requires us to break down and unpack concepts like “local ownership” into constituent parts. In practice, I argue, the term has become a sort-of catch all for concerns relating to actual control (agency, decision making, funding), process (whether a transitional justice initiative is “bottom-up,” participatory or homegrown, being shaped by input from “the grassroots,” or “top-down” and imposed; whether it is driven by the state or “the community”), and substance (whether a transitional justice initiative honors and resonates with local values and practices). While the control, process, and substance dimensions of local ownership are in practice often going to be highly related, it may not be necessary to satisfy concerns relating to all three for a transitional justice program to be perceived as legitimate. For example, hypothetically, a U.N. or otherwise “externally” controlled and funded program might be seen as legitimate by many local constituencies if it were heavily shaped by a bottom-up participatory process that put local priorities and practices at the heart of the program. In contrast, a transitional justice program might be fully controlled by a national government or other locals, and yet still be part of a state-centric solution imposed from the top-down upon local peasant communities without significant input, and ultimately be seen by many locals as lacking legitimacy.

Both hypotheticals presented here would seem to suggest that the process dimension of local ownership is especially key to the design of transitional justice interventions, not simply because process can help to generate feelings of (il)legitimacy, but also because, in practice, satisfying process concerns may tend to lead to transitional justice modalities that hit positive notes on the substance axis. 221See generally, Triponel & Pearson, supra note 159, at 103 (examining trend toward increasing public consultation in the set up phase of transitional justice mechanisms). At the same time, undue focus on the process dimension alone is potentially problematic as it has been observed in other contexts that ideas like “participatory development” can easily be co-opted by states and international institutions to their own ends. 222See Lundy, supra note 160, at 329. The concept of participation has a long history in the field of development, and is both revered and reviled in the literature for its power to both empower and co-opt. For a review of the history and trajectory of the concept, see generally Sam Hickey & Giles Mohan, Towards Participation as Transformation: Critical Themes and Challenges, in Participation: From Tyranny to Transformation? (Samuel Hickey & Giles Mohan eds., 2004). In the transitional justice context, it has similarly been noted that where efforts at “consultation” do take place, local communities are often asked for input into project implementation long after more fundamental questions of design and set-up have already been established, suggesting that process concerns are often treated as a shallow, technical exercise. 223See Rubli, supra note 54, at 11–12. There is therefore a danger that as notions of process, including participation, are mainstreamed, they become yet another bureaucratic planning tool, muddying useful distinctions between genuinely people-centered, bottom-up processes and top-down, technocratic ones. 224See Hickey & Mohan, supra note 223, at 4. Finally, beyond process, one should not dismiss the importance of the control dimension, which—being intimately linked to the power and politics of transitional justice interventions—still plays an important role in global-local frictions and feelings of legitimacy.

By offering this schema, the intent is not to suggest that categories of control, process, and substances are in any way definitive, or that local ownership could not be broken down into alternative or additional categories. The key point is that thinking of local ownership multi-dimensionally based on the unique history of each particular context is a much more useful exercise than the loose sloganeering that often takes place around the concept today. Again, the Gacaca process serves as a useful real-world illustration of some of these complex dynamics.

At the most superficial level, the Gacaca process was very much “locally owned” as compared to the ICTR, for example, in the sense that formal control was retained by Rwandans. Yet to end there would be to confuse local ownership with ownership by the national government, a distinction that is potentially problematic in a context where the government cannot be assumed to represent many local constituencies or to be subject to checks and balances if it fails to consider their input. 225See Oomen, supra note 174, at 899–902 (discussing the “increasingly oppressive” and authoritarianism climate in Rwanda). The results of the Gacaca process illustrate that this kind of national ownership alone will often not be sufficient to create legitimacy in the eyes of many local constituencies. 226Many ordinary Rwandans prefer the Gacaca courts over Rwanda’s national courts and the ICTR. See Ingelare, supra note 211, at 51. At the same time, it is seen by other Rwandans as an imposition from Kigali. See Burnet, supra note 94, 188 (2008); see also See Oomen, supra note 174, at 904 (noting that “the public at large seemed to increasingly consider the [Gacaca] meetings as mandatory events to sit through, just like community service.”). Thus, the process dimension of local ownership, including whether a transitional justice initiative is carried out in a manner that is “bottom-up,” drawing upon meaningful input and participation by affected communities, remains critical. 227See generally, Triponel & Pearson, supra note 159, at 103. While the Gacaca process certainly involved a lot of participation by ordinary Rwandans in the hearings themselves, attendance at Gacaca hearings eventually dwindled and had to be coerced, and Rwandans had little space to contest dimensions of the larger Gacaca process itself. 228See Ingelare, supra note 211, at 46–47, 55. Thus, there was a very real sense in which the process was imposed from the top-down (with the top being Kigali rather than New York or Geneva). 229See Burnet, supra note 94, 188.

Beyond control and process, there is also a substantive dimension to questions of local ownership, including the extent to which a transitional justice initiative honors and resonates with local values and practices. Even on this score, the Gacaca process receives mixed results. While initially greeted with enthusiasm by the Rwandan population as a distinctively Rwandan approach to post-conflict justice in contrast with the remote and Western ICTR, many Rwandans were ultimately alienated by the process and felt that it lacked legitimacy. 230See id. In many respects, the process appeared to be more in tune with national (or government) values and priorities than community-based ones in the sense that it was engineered to reinforce longstanding partisan narratives favored by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) political party by excluding crimes committed by the RPF from the Gacaca process. 231See Christopher Le Mon, Rwanda’s Troubled Gacaca Courts, 14 Hum. Rts Brief 16 (Winter 2007), available at http://www.wcl.american.edu/hrbrief/14/2lemon.pdf. The RPF was the military victor in the Rwandan conflict and has effectively set the agenda for post-genocide Rwanda without much restraint. See Ingelare, supra note 211, at 31–32. Thus, Gacaca illustrates that adapting the trappings of local practices, traditions, and rituals alone is not sufficient to generate a sense of legitimacy and good will toward a transitional justice program.

With the process concluded as of 2012, Gacaca leaves an ambiguous legacy. 232Phil Clark has written a comprehensive review of Gacaca, delving into strengths and weaknesses in great detail. See Phil Clark, The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda; Justice without Lawyers (2010); see also Ingelare, supra note 211, at 51–57 (evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of Gacaca). While it constitutes an important experiment in post-conflict justice programming, its glaring gaps and deficiencies also serve as something of a cautionary tale. 233These include the fact that the Gacaca process actually led to increases in the numbers of the accused and detained. See Burnet, supra note 94, at 178. It may have also increased conflict in some communities. See id. at 174. Initially projected as an exemplar of local ownership in transitional justice, Gacaca was in practice another top-down, state-based solution imposed on affected communities, and ultimately suffered a loss of legitimacy as a result. 234See Oomen, supra note 174, at 906–07; see also Thomson & Nagy, supra note 202, at 13 (describing Gacaca as a “state-imposed” project). Given the authoritarian political climate in Rwanda, this should not be surprising. 235See Thomson & Nagy, supra note 202, at 13 (noting that legal systems, traditional or otherwise, “inescapably embody prevailing constellations of power.”). Rather than transcending Rwanda’s post-genocide political culture, Gacaca was simply played out through its prism. 236See Andrew Iliff, Root and Branch: Discourses of ‘Tradition’ in Grassroots Transitional Justice, 6 Int’l J. Transitional Justice 253, 256 (arguing that Gacaca was used to “bolster[] the current Rwandan government’s framing of the genocide as a singular event legitimating its authoritarian rule.” Id. at 260).

At a deeper level, Gacaca illustrates the almost inescapable pull of both universalism and particularism in transitional justice processes, with notions of what it means to do justice in the aftermath of conflict invariably shaped by contested global and local standards. 237For a review of the ways in which the universality debate in human rights can inform dilemmas of the global and the local that arise in the transitional justice context, see generally Viaene & Brems, supra note 23, at 199; see also Alexander Betts, Should Approaches to Post-conflict Justice and Reconciliation be Determined Globally, Nationally, or Locally?, 17 Eur. J. Dev. Res. 736, 740–44 (2005) (discussing the ways in which the universalism-versus-relativism debate played out in post-genocide Rwanda). More than that, however, it represents a clash of purportedly universal commitments, between liberal internationalism and international human rights, on the one hand, and conceptions of local autonomy, self-determination, and sovereignty on the other. Given the seeming inevitability of these competing forces in many transitional justice interventions, the disappointments and politics of Gacaca point not to the need to abandon alternative or “hybrid” approaches to post-conflict justice, but to consider possibilities that offer a better balance, including global-local balance, along the multiple axes of local ownership: control, process, and substance. 238It is important to note that not all attempts to integrate local or “traditional” approaches to post-conflict justice and reconciliation have been as controversial as Gacaca. These efforts have not typically substituted for trials and truth commissions, but have served as an important complement to them. For example, in East Timor’s Community Reconciliation Process, reconciliation between perpetrators and former combatants with members of their estranged communities was facilitated by drawing upon elements of local ritual, arbitration, and mediation practice. See generally Patrick Burgess, A New Approach to Restorative Justice – East Timor’s Community Reconciliation Process, in Transitional Justice in the twenty-first Century: beyond truth versus justice 176–205 (Naomi Roht-Arriaza & Javier Mariezcurrena eds., 2006). In Sierra Leone, the formal, state-sanctioned truth commission incorporated aspects of local ritual into its work. See generally Tim Kelsall, supra note 46, at 361. The non-governmental organization Fambul Tok (“Family Talk” in the Krio language) has also worked to facilitate a context-specific response to reconciliation. See generally Augustine S.J. Park, Community-Based Restorative Transitional Justice in Sierra Leone, 13 Contemp. Just. Rev. 95 (2010). All of these efforts have been marked by significant elements of global-local hybridity.

As noted in the area of hybrid courts, practices of genuine global-local hybridity hold promise, yet have not been adequately tested in practice, suggesting the need for further innovation. 239The concept of hybridity has been offered in the broader context of peacebuilding as one way to begin to move beyond simple global-local debates and to better capture the complexity of the relationships between the many actors involved. See generally Roger Mac Ginty, International Peacebuilding and Local Resistance (2011). Hybridized forms of peacebuilding that involve a mixture of conventional and local practices and models are also offered as one way to begin to move beyond the confines of liberal international peacebuilding. See Edward Newman, Roland Paris, Oliver P. Richmond, Introduction, in New Perspectives on Liberal Peacebuilding 16 (Edward Newman et al. eds., 2009). In addition to being a useful analytical tool, in some cases the concept is portrayed as “a desirable political project[] that could stimulate alternatives and counter what is perceived to be hegemonic, externally driven liberal programming.” Peterson, supra note 70, at 10. For the application of a hybridity lens to post-conflict justice more specifically, see generally, Chandra Lekha Sriram, Post-Conflict Justice and Hybridity in Peacebuilding: Resistance or Cooptation, in Hybrid Forms of Peace: From Everyday Agency to Post-Liberalism (Oliver Richmond & Audra Mitchell eds., 2012). For all of their promise, however, future experiments in alternative or hybridized justice and reconciliation are unlikely to involve easy compromise or simple solutions to the dilemmas of the global and the local. Better global-local balance requires a give and take on both “sides,” 240Existing U.N. doctrine does not really allow for this. In a landmark 2004 report on transitional justice, for example, former Secretary General Kofi Annan notes that “due regard must be given to indigenous and informal traditions” yet suggests in the same sentence that “due regard” will only be extended insofar as there is “conformity” with international standards. Rule of Law, supra note 1, at paras. 16-17, 36. As I suggest below, space must be made for a substantial “margin of appreciation.” something that goes well beyond the lip service paid to tokenistic concepts of local ownership today. 241See Lundy & McGovern, supra note 60, at 279 (noting that “[d]espite being identified as key issues in international reports and development circles for years, the virtues of local ownership, empowerment, and participatory approaches have tended only to be implemented in a vague, weak, and ad hoc manner.”). Moving beyond superficial concepts of local ownership will necessarily entail a fundamental re-consideration of the primacy of Western approaches to mass atrocity. 242See Harvey Weinstein et al., Stay the Hand of Justice; Whose Priorities Take Priority, in Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities After Mass Violence 35 (Rosalind Shaw & Lars Waldorf eds., 2010) (noting that “there has been little room for consideration of broader or alternative approaches, especially those that might emerge out of different or non-western conceptions of justice.”). Thus, reimagining the foreclosed possibilities will require more than a simple call to place greater emphasis on the local or non-Western, 243See Okello, supra note 64, at 277 (noting that a call for greater weight to be placed on the local “does not in itself represent a shift in the underlying assumptions of the field—at most, it is a shift in emphasis.”). requiring instead a more fundamental re-consideration of what it means to “do justice” in times of transition. 244See An-Na’im, supra note 39, at 197 (observing that the dominant transitional justice paradigms are so strong that “even the possibility of an indigenous alternative conception of justice is not taken seriously at a theoretical or empirical level.”). After all, it would be all too easy for mainstream transitional justice programs and professionals to embrace the local to the extent that it resonates with and resembles Western norms and institutions, using the trappings of the local in an attempt to boost legitimacy and buy-in to a larger set of projects. 245See Baines, supra note 3, at 411–12, 414–15. Yet this would represent at best a form of co-option, a leveraging of the local only insofar as it stands in conformity with the global.

In the end, giving more than rhetorical weight to principles of local ownership in matters of post-conflict justice will require a significant “margin of appreciation” 246See Viaene & Brems, supra note 23, at 210 (reviewing the margin of appreciation doctrine that has developed under the European Convention on Human Rights). and acceptance of an at-times uncomfortable pluralism 247On the complexities of legal pluralism in international law more broadly, see generally Brian Tamanha, Understanding Legal Pluralism: Past to Present, Local to Global, 30 Sydney L. Rev. 375 (2008). —forcing us to stand on that tenuous yet inevitable middle ground between universalism and relativism. 248Using different terminology, scholars from a range of disciplines have made attempts to carve out a position between strong universalism and strong relativism. See, e.g., Ronald Cohen, Human Rights and Cultural Relativism: The Need for A New Approach, 91 Am. Anthropologist 1014, 1015–16 (1989) (calling for a middle ground between “simplistic polarities of relativism versus universalism.”); Gérard Cohen-Jonathan, Universalité et Singularité des Droits de l’Homme, 53 Revue Trimestrielle des Droits de l’Homme 1, 11 (2003) (discussing a “pluralist” conception of human rights); Paul Healy, Human Rights and Intercultural Relations, 32 Phil. & Soc. Criticism 513, 513 (2006) (arguing for a middle ground between ethnocentric universalism and radical cultural relativism); Anne Hellum, Women’s Human Rights and African Customary Laws: Between Universalism and Relativism – Individualism and Communitarianism, 10 Eur. J. Dev. Res. 88, 96 (1998) (using the idea of “cultural pluralism” to create a space between universalism and relativism). However, striking a global-local balance also means that one particular local will at times have to give way to a larger local. 249See Mazlish, supra note 25, at 99 (discussing the idea of local giving way to larger local). This reflects the simple recognition that neither global nor local dimensions of justice holds a monopoly on emancipatory projects, possibilities, and wisdom.

Conclusion

Dilemmas of the global and the local are now firmly entwined in transitional justice narratives, sticky strands that we can neither remove nor let go. Those dilemmas call on us to interrogate the historical and ideological origins of the field, grounded as it has been in Western liberalism and legalism, and may even point to the need to abandon traditional paradigms of “transition” altogether. 250See generally An-Na’im, supra note 39, at 197. While one should avoid simplistic notions of path dependency, an examination of origins remains useful in helping to identify some of the lingering assumptions and blind spots that have in part helped to generate many of the global-local frictions so often associated with transitional justice interventions today.

At one level, attempts to resolve or at least manage these dilemmas reflect a healthy pragmatism and acknowledgement that transitional justice efforts are unlikely to contribute to larger aims of post-conflict reconstruction if they are not embraced by those who have to live with them, making questions of legitimacy and sustainability paramount. Yet beyond pragmatism, increasing attention paid to concepts like local ownership may reflect a deeper ambivalence with the imperiousness of international justice and some measure of discomfort with the sotto voce imperialism of liberal international peacebuilding more generally. 251See Uvin, supra note 14, at 186 (arguing that “[t]aken to its extreme, the new post-conflict agenda, then, amounts to a license for interventionism so deep and unchecked it resembles colonialism”). Few Western countries or world powers, for example, would accept some of the more intrusive dimensions of international justice. At the same time, the local also inspires another sort of moral ambivalence. Global institutions now insist that the local must be given “due regard,” but wring hands over where due regard must give way to international standards and best practices. 252For an argument that so-called “best practices” tend to promote an undesirable uniformity and bias interventions towards the global rather than the local, see generally Warren Feek, Best of Practices?, 17 Dev’t in Practice 653 (2007). In the end, the dilemmas of the global and the local therefore express tensions between different normative commitments, between liberal internationalism and international human rights on the one hand, and principles of local sovereignty and autonomy on the other.

Yet if we are to do more than repeat that addressing the dilemmas of the global and local is both important and hard, we must start by questioning simple categories and narratives of global and local, coming to understand transitional justice processes instead as part of a more complicated dialectical process that moves between multiple levels. At the same time, we must carefully parse what we mean by local ownership. The normative currency of the local is now such that concepts like local ownership can be used as a legitimate shield—as a form of resistance to the hegemony of liberal international peacebuilding and a way to carve out a legitimate sphere of autonomy in matters of post-conflict justice—but also as a talisman by enterprising elites who would seek donor dollars while furthering their own partisan political agendas. 253See Iliff, supra note 237, at 262. Coming to understand local ownership along its multiple dimensions or axes—including control, process, and substance—might help to clarify thinking in crafting future experiments in transitional justice. Such experiments will hopefully build upon more equitable global-local partnerships, reflecting an acceptance of genuine practices of hybridity that take us beyond the self-imposed parameters of the transitional justice “toolbox.”

Footnotes

Dustin Sharp, JD, Harvard Law School. Assistant Professor at the Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. The author can be contacted at dsharp@sandiego.edu. I would like to thank Adam Branch, Thomas Obel Hansen, Joanna Quinn, Chandra Lekha Sriram, and Necla Tschirgi and for their astute comments on earlier versions of this article. All errors are entirely my own.

1See, e.g., U.N. Secretary-General, Report of the Secretary General on Peacebuilding in the Immediate Aftermath of Conflict, para. 7, U.N. Doc. A/63/881-S/2009/304 (June 11, 2009) (“The imperative of national ownership is a central theme of the present report . . . .”) [hereinafter Report of the Secretary General]; U.N. Secretary-General, The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies, para. 16–17, 36, U.N. Doc. S/2004/616 (Aug. 23, 2004) (arguing that the U.N. must “learn better how to respect and support local ownership, local leadership and a local constituency for reform.”) [hereinafter The Rule of Law]; Simon Chesterman, Walking Softly in Afghanistan: The Future of U.N. Statebuilding, 44 Survival 37, 41 (2002) (“[E]very U.N. mission and development program now stresses the importance of local ‘ownership.’”).

2The Rule of Law, supra note 1, at para. 16–17, 36; Chandra Sriram, Justice as Peace? Liberal Peacebuilding and Strategies of Transitional Justice, 21 Global Soc’y 579, 591 (2007).

3See, e.g., Transitional Justice: Global Mechanisms and Local Realities After Genocide and Mass Violence (Alexander Hinton, ed., Rutgers University Press 2010); Customary Justice and the Rule of Law in War-Torn Societies (Deborah Isser, ed., United States Institute of Peace 2011); Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities After Mass Violence (Rosalind Shaw & Lars Waldorf eds., Stanford University Press 2010); Elizabeth Stanley, Transitional Justice: From the Local to the International, in The Ashgate Research Companion to Ethics and International Relations (Patrick Hayden ed., 2009); Erin Baines, Spirits and Social Reconstruction After Mass Violence: Rethinking Transitional Justice, 109 Afr. Aff. 409 (2010).

4Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities After Mass Violence, supra note 3, at 4.

5See Timothy Donais, Haiti and the Dilemmas of Local Ownership, 64 Int’l. J. 753, 765 (2008–2009).

6See Andrea Talentino, Perceptions of Peacebuilding: The Dynamic of Imposer and Imposed Upon, 8 Int’l Studies Rev. 152, 153 (2007).

7See Report of the Secretary General, supra note 1, at para. 7 (“The imperative of national ownership is a central theme of the present report.”).

8See Daniel Bendix & Ruth Stanley, Deconstructing Local Ownership of Security Sector Reform: A Review of the Literature, 17 Afr. Sec. Rev. 93, 101 (2010).

9See Simon Chesterman, Ownership in Theory and in Practice: Transfer of Authority in U.N. Statebuilding Operations, 1 J. Intervention & Statebuilding 3, 9 (2007) (noting that in the fields of post-conflict reconstruction and development, ownership “has frequently been of more rhetorical significance than anything else.”); Timothy Donais, Empowerment or Imposition? Dilemmas of Local Ownership in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding Processes, 34 Peace & Change 3, 5 (2009) (observing that in the broader field of peacebuilding, “local ownership has rarely moved beyond the level of rhetoric”).

10See Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Designing Bespoke Transitional Justice: A Pluralist Process Approach, 32 Mich. J. Int’l L. 1, 21 (2010) (“In transitional justice mechanisms to date, the international justice proponents’ concerns have generally been paramount, perhaps because they often provide much of the funding and technical support for transitional justice mechanisms in the developing world.”).

11See Transitional Justice: Global Mechanisms and Local Realities After Genocide and Mass Violence, supra note 3, at 9 (“[T]ransitional justice mechanisms almost always have unexpected outcomes that emerge out of ‘frictions’ between . . . global mechanisms and local realities.”).

12See Oliver Richmond, A Post-Liberal Peace 152–54 (2011).

13In an oft-cited comment on the topic, Kofi Annan noted that “no rule of law reform, justice reconstruction, or transitional justice initiative imposed from the outside can hope to be successful or sustainable.” The Rule of Law, supra note 2, at para. 17. Leopold von Carlowitz has observed that while policy-makers, academics and practitioners generally agree with this principle, local ownership has nevertheless proven difficult to operationalize in practice. Local Ownership in Practice: Justice System Reform in Kosovo and Liberia 1 (Geneva Ctr. for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, Occasional Paper No. 23, March 2011).

14See Peter Uvin, Difficult Choices in the New Post-Conflict Agenda: The International Community in Rwanda After the Genocide, 22 Third World Q. 177, 185–86 (2001) (“[W]hen internal or local solutions emerge, they often take forms that do not conform to Western ethnical ideals or international legal principles.”).

15See Patricia Lundy, Paradoxes and Challenges of Transitional Justice at the “Local” Level: Historical Enquiries in Northern Ireland, 6 Contemp. Social Sci. 89, 93 (2011) (reviewing arguments in the literature that “transitional justice can be used by elites for a variety of purposes and to serve or conceal other very different political agendas.”).

16Florian Kuhn, The Peace Prefix: Ambiguities of the Word Peace, 19 Int’l Peacekeeping 396, 402 (2012).

17See Donais, supra note 5, at 755–56. Global frictions arise in part due to a clash between universalism and particularism—a dynamic at the heart of the cultural relativism debate in human rights. Yet it is important to note here that values like participation, inclusion, and local agency are themselves often held out as universal values intended to trump others, and at times are even as a shield against local or traditional practices that might discriminate or otherwise fail to be fully inclusive. Thus, the clash of normative commitments I speak of here is much more complex than frictions between a cosmopolitan liberalism and vigorous localism, and could also be thought of a tension between different (purportedly universal) liberal commitments.

18See Stephanie Vieille, Transitional Justice: A Colonizing Field?, 4 Amsterdam L.F. 58, 66 (2012).

19See Donais, supra note 9, at 21.

20See Roland Paris & Timothy Sisk, Managing Contradictions: The Inherent Dilemmas of Postwar Statebuilding 5 (International Peace Academy, 2007) (suggesting that insofar as the dilemmas of postwar statebuilding stem from “compelling but mutually conflicting imperatives,” they may prove unresolvable).

21I have elsewhere outlined this and other key dilemmas that characterize what I call “fourth generation transitional justice.” See generally Dustin Sharp, Interrogating the Peripheries: The Preoccupations of Fourth Generation Transitional Justice, 26 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 149, 152 (2013).

22As Millar et al. have noted, the “friction” concept helps to stress the unexpected, unintended, and extremely complex nature of what happens when global meets local. See Gearoid Millar, Jaïr Van Der Lijn, & Willemijn Verkoren, Peacebuilding Plans and Local Reconfigurations: Frictions between Imported Processes and Indigenous Practices, 20 Int’l Peacekeeping 137, 139 (2013).

23The phrase “transitional justice toolbox” refers to the mechanisms and interventions most associated with the field: prosecutions, truth telling, reparations, vetting and dismissals, institutional reform, etc. The toolbox metaphor is increasingly critiqued as suggesting a set, one-size-fits-all template ignorant of context, and because the tool idea implies that transitional justice interventions are somehow neutral, acultural, and apolitical. Lieselotte Viaene & Eva Brems, Transitional Justice and Cultural Contexts: Learning from the Universality Debate, 28 Neth. Q. Hum. Rts. 199, 200 (2010).

24See Sally Engle Merry, Legal Pluralism and Transnational Culture: The Ka Ho’okolokolonui Kanaka Maoli Tribunal, Hawai’i, 1993, in Human Rights, Culture & Contest: Anthropological Perspectives 30 (Richard Wilson ed., 1997) (“[H]uman rights is an open text, capable of appropriation and redefinition.”); Sally Engle Merry, Global Human Rights and Local Social Movements in a Legally Plural World, 12 Can. J. L. & Soc. 247, 249 (1997) (“[G]lobal rights discourses are appropriated in local communities and . . . are themselves constructed out of local struggles.”).

25See Lundy, supra note 15, at 93 (reviewing perspectives that seek to move beyond the “stark and mutually exclusive binary oppositions of local and ‘global’ that tend to dominate transitional justice literature.”); Bruce Mazlish, The Global and the Local, 53 Current Sociology 93, 99 (2005) (discussing the idea of “local” and “larger local.”).

26Sriram, supra note 2, at 582–83. See Rosemary Nagy, Transitional Justice as a Global Project: Critical Reflections, 29 Third World Q. 275, 277–78 (2008) for a review of how definitions of transitional justice have evolved over time. See also Paige Arthur, How “Transitions” Reshaped Human Rights: A Conceptual History of Transitional Justice, 31 Hum. Rts. Q. 321, 329–33 (2009) (tracing the history of the use of the term “transitional justice.”).

27According to a famous U.N. definition, “[transitional justice comprises] the full range of processes and mechanisms associated with a society’s attempts to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses, in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation. These may include both judicial and non-judicial mechanisms, with differing levels of international involvement (or none at all) and individual prosecutions, reparations, truth-seeking, institutional reform, vetting and dismissals, or a combination thereof.” The Rule of Law, supra note 1, at para. 8.

28Priscilla B. Hayner, Unspeakable Truths: Transitional Justice and the Challenge of Truth Commissions 256–62 (2011).

29See Kathryn Sikkink, The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics 21 fig. 1.1 (2011).

30See Nagy, supra note 26, at 276. See also Kieran McEvoy, Beyond Legalism: Towards a Thicker Understanding of Transitional Justice, 34 J.L. & Soc’y 411, 412 (2007).

31See Laura Arriaza & Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Social Reconstruction as Local Process, 2 Int’l J. Transitional Just. 152, 152 (2008) (“A whole agenda—and a whole set of institutions and professionals—has emerged to implement ‘transitional justice’ interventions . . . .”); Christine Bell, Transitional Justice, Interdisciplinarity and the State of the ‘Field’ or ‘Non-Field, 3 Int’l J. Transitional Just. 5, 7 (2009) (arguing that transitional justice emerged as a distinct field sometime after 2000).

32See generally Jon Elster, Closing the Books: Transitional Justice in Historical Perspective (2004) (reviewing historic practices now associated with the modern field of transitional justice).

33The “third wave” is a term used by political scientist Samuel Huntington to describe a period of global democratization beginning in the mid-1970s that touched more than sixty countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. See generally Samuel P. Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (1991).

34See Arthur, supra note 26, at 325–26. The definitive source that captures the thinking and spirit of the period is Neil Kritz’s seminal three-volume work. See generally Transitional Justice: How Emerging Democracies Reckon with Former Regimes (Neil Kritz ed., Washington: United States Institute of Peace, 1995).

35See generally Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (1992).

36Influential scholars from the period attempted to predict to what extent the scope of transitional justice would be determined by a set of bargains between the various elite groups facilitating the democratic transition, with more or less justice possible depending on the extent to which previous elites retained a grip on the levers of power. See Samuel P. Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (1991), reprinted in I Transitional Justice: General Considerations 65, 65–81 (Neil J. Kritz ed., 1995); Guillermo O’Donnell & Philippe C. Schmitter, Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions About Uncertain Democracies (1986), reprinted in Transitional Justice, 57 (Neil Kritz ed., 1995).

37See Transitional Justice: Global Mechanisms and Local Realities after Genocide and Mass Violence, supra note 3, at 6–7.

38See Michael Rothberg, Progress, Progression, Procession: William Kentridge and the Narratology of Transitional Justice, 20 Narrative 2, 5 (2012).

39To An-Na’im, these historical and ideological underpinnings include an implicit neocolonial logic that places dominant conceptions of “transitional justice” within “the grand ‘modernizing’ mission of North Atlantic societies.” See Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Editorial Note: From the Neocolonial “Transition” to Indigenous Formations of Justice, 7 Int’l J. Transitional Just. 197 (2013).

40Chandra Sriram, supra note 2, at 579. See generally McEvoy, supra note 30, at 411, for the dominance of law and legalism in transitional justice.

41See Arthur, supra note 26, at 333.

42Miriam J. Aukerman, Extraordinary Evil, Ordinary Crime: A Framework for Understanding Transitional Justice, 15 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 39, 94–97 (2002).

43Rama Mani stands as an early exception to this trend, arguing for a more balanced approach to post-conflict reconstruction that would include three dimensions of justice: retributive, rectificatory, and distributive. See Rama Mani, Beyond Retribution: Seeking Justice in the Shadows of War 5 (2002).

44Aukerman, supra note 42, at 39–44 (describing the “prosecution preference”).

45The prosecution preference can be seen in debates that raged in the late 1990s concerning whether a truth commission alone could constitute an adequate form of justice. See, e.g, Reed Brody, Justice: The First Casualty of Truth?, Nation, Apr. 30, 2001 (arguing that truth commissions can serve as “a soft option for avoiding justice.”) More recently, one can look to controversies sparked by ICC indictments of leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group in Uganda where some members of the Acholi community in Northern Uganda would prefer to forgo prosecutions in favor of Mato Oput, a local ritual that emphasizes reconciliation and reintegration rather than simple retribution. Adam Branch, Uganda’s Civil War and the Politics of ICC Intervention, 21 Ethics & Int’l Aff. 179, 191–92 (2007).

46See Rosalind Shaw, United States Institute of Peace Special Report 130, Rethinking Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: Lessons from Sierra Leone 4 (2005); see also Tim Kelsall, Truth, Lies, Ritual: Preliminary Reflections on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone, 27 Hum. Rts. Q. 361 (2005).

47See Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Reparations in the Aftermath of Repression and Mass Violence, in My Neighbor, My Enemy 121 (Eric Stover & Harvey M. Weinstein eds., 2004) (noting that “[o]utside the context of the Second World War, examples of large-scale reparations programs become scarcer.”).

48See Arthur, supra note 26, at 359 (2009).

49There is a growing literature examining the extent to which transitional justice can and should grapple with economic and social rights and questions of distributive justice more generally. See, e.g, Justice and Economic Violence in Transition (Dustin N. Sharp ed., 2014); Rethinking Transitions: Equality and Social Justice in Societies Emerging from Conflict (Gaby Oré Aguila & Felipe Gómez Isa eds., 2011); Distributive Justice in Transitions (Morten Bergsmo et al. eds., 2010); Transitional Justice and Development: Making Connections (Roger Duthie & Pablo de Grieff eds., 2009); Louise Arbour, Economic and Social Justice for Societies in Transition, 40 N.Y.U. J. Int’l L. & Pol. 1, 4 (2007). The importance of greater engagement questions of economic justice has also been recognized by the UN. See, e.g., U.N. Secretary-General, The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies, para. 24, U.N. Doc. S/2011/634 (Oct. 12, 2011) (observing “growing recognition that truth commissions should also address the economic, social and cultural rights dimensions of conflict to enhance long-term peace and security”); U.N. Secretary-General, Guidance Note of the Secretary-General: United Nations Approach to Transitional Justice para. 9 (Mar. 2010), http://www.unrol.org/files/TJ_Guidance_Note_March_2010FINAL.pdf (“Successful strategic approaches to transitional justice necessitate taking account of the root causes of conflict or repressive rule, and must seek to address the related violations of all rights, including economic, social, and cultural rights”).

50See generally Zinaida Miller, Effects of Invisibility: In Search of the ‘Economic’ in Transitional Justice, 2 Int’l J. Transitional Just. 266 (2008).

51For example, under the South African TRC Act, a “victim” was limited to individuals who had suffered “gross violation[s] of human rights . . . defined as . . . killing, abduction, torture, or severe ill-treatment.” The poverty, racism, and structural violence of the Apartheid system itself where thereby excluded. Roger Duthie & Pablo de Greiff, Repairing the Past: Reparations for Victims of Human Rights Violations, in Handbook of Reparations 8 (Pablo de Greiff ed., 2006).

52Roland Paris made this point with respect to similar critiques that have been leveled against the broader field of post-conflict peacebuilding. See Roland Paris, Saving Liberal Peacebuilding, 36 Rev. of Int’l Stud. 337, 363 (2010). I outline these critiques in more detail in Part II.

53See generally Dustin N. Sharp, Interrogating the Peripheries; The Preoccupations of Fourth Generation Transitional Justice, 26 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 149, 150 (2013).

54See Sandra Rubli, Transitional Justice: Justice by Bureaucratic Means? 11 (Swiss Peace, Working Paper No. 4, 2012).

55See Lydiah Bosire, Overpromised, Underdelivered: Transitional Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa, 5 SUR Int’l J. on Hum. Rts. 71, 72 (2006).

56The Rule of Law, supra note 1, at para. 36.

57See An-Na’im, supra note 39, at 197 (observing that “preference is given to a standard of justice that is mandated by the international community over indigenous or ‘traditional’ practices.”).

58See generally Makau Mutua, Savages, Victims, and Saviors: The Metaphor of Human Rights, 42 Harv. Int’l L. J. 201 (2001).

59For a useful deconstruction of the problematic term “international community,” see generally Berit Bliesemann de Guevara & Florian Kuhn, ‘The International Community Needs to Act’: Loose Use and Empty Signaling of a Hackneyed Concept, 18 Int’l Peacekeeping 135 (2011).

60See Patricia Lundy & Mark McGovern, Whose Justice? Rethinking Transitional Justice from the Bottom Up, 35 J.L. & Soc’y 265, 276–77 (2008) (noting that “wider geo-political and economic interests too often shape what tend to be represented as politically and economically neutral post-conflict and transitional justice initiatives”); Bronwyn Anne Leebaw, The Irreconcilable Goals of Transitional Justice, 30 Hum. Rts. Q. 95, 98–106 (2008) (arguing that a superficial consensus as to the goals of transitional justice can serve to mask a deeper level of politicization and debate, and that assessment of the tensions, trade-offs, and dilemmas associated with transitional justice has become difficult to the extent that they have been conceptualized in apolitical terms); Sriram, supra note 2, at 587–88 (discussing the ways in which post-conflict institutional reform strategies relating to the judiciary, constitution, and security forces may be seen by key protagonists as permanently cementing new power arrangements and therefore not as neutral or apolitical processes).

61See Sharp, supra note 53, at 139.

62Sebastián Albuja & James Cavallaro, The Lost Agenda: Economic Crimes and Truth Commissions in Latin America and Beyond, in Transitional Justice from Below, Grassroots Activism and the Struggle for Change 125 (Kieran McEvoy & Lorna McGregor eds., 2008). The problem of set templates and formulaic paths is of course not unique to transitional justice, but has dogged the broader work of post-conflict peacebuilding as well. See Ole Jacob Sending, Why Peacebuilders Fail to Secure Ownership and be Sensitive to Context 7 (Norwegian Inst. of Int’l Aff., Working Paper No. 755, 2009). It is important to note, however, that even established and dominant scripts can and do change (as evident in the growing work of certain African truth commissions on questions of economic justice), even if it typically involves a very slow and uneven process. See generally, Dustin N. Sharp, Economic Violence in the Practice of African Truth Commissions and Beyond, in Justice and Economic Violence in Transition (Dustin N. Sharp ed., 2014).

63Thus, for example, transitional justice practices are now associated with countries and regime changes such as Rwanda that can hardly be considered democratic. See generally After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond (Phil Clark & Zachary D. Kaufman eds., 2009).

64Many have questioned the utility of the transitions paradigm altogether. See, e.g., Moses Chrispus Okello, Afterword: Elevating Transitional Local Justice or Crystallizing Global Governance?, in Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities After Mass Violence 275, 278–79 (Rosalind Shaw & Lars Waldorf eds., 2010) (questing the “unintended consequences of assuming that we are all progressing towards the same destination”); Harvey M. Weinstein et al., Stay the Hand of Justice: Whose Priorities Take Priority?, in Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities After Mass Violence 36, 36 (Rosalind Shaw & Lars Waldorf eds., 2010) (stating that “[i]t is time to reconsider whether the term transitional justice accurately captures the dynamic processes unfolding on the ground”).

65See generally Roland Paris, At War’s End (2004).

66See generally Dustin N. Sharp, Beyond the Post-Conflict Checklist: Linking Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice Through the Lens of Critique, 14 Chi. J. Int’l L. 165 (2013).

67Id.

68See Lundy & McGovern, supra note 60, 276–77.

69As with development and transitional justice, there is a burgeoning peacebuilding literature analyzing the dilemmas of the local. See, e.g., Oliver Richmond, The Romanticisation of the Local: Welfare, Culture, and Peacebuilding, 44 Int’l Spectator 149, 161–63 (2009); Roger Mac Ginty, Indigenous Peace-Making Versus the Liberal Peace, 43 Cooperation and Conflict: J. Nordic Int’l Stud. Ass’n 139 (2008); Donais, supra note 9, at 3.

70See Jenny Peterson, A Conceptual Unpacking of Hybridity: Accounting for Notions of Power, Politics and Progress in Analyses of Aid-Driven Interfaces, 7 J. of Peacebuilding and Dev. 9, 12 (2012) (noting the tendency of assessments of liberal interventions to homogenize).

71At the same time, as I note in the following Part, great caution with categories of global and local is warranted. What may look like a purely “local” effort or initiative may turn out to have been in part initiated by internationals, and to have received international funding, framing, and technical assistance. Thus, in practice, there is often a blurring of categories.

72“International prosecutions” includes purely international tribunals such as the international criminal tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Rwanda (ICTR), and the International Criminal Court (ICC), as well as the so-called “hybrid” tribunals, such as the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). Though one could argue for a distinction between “international criminal justice” (limited primarily to international and hybrid criminal tribunals) and the broader work of “transitional justice,” the fact remains that since Nuremburg international tribunals have often been associated with transitional and post-conflict contexts, and they tend to generate similar legal, political and moral dilemmas. See Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, July 17, 1998, 2187 U.N.T.S. 90, arts. 4–5 [hereinafter Rome Statute]. The International Criminal Court has the potential to hear cases from a great variety of countries and therefore is not limited to addressing crimes in post-conflict or transitional contexts; however, its work in places like Uganda and Côte d’Ivoire has become central to post-conflict dynamics in both countries. Even when operating where there is no notable political transition, the ICC has demonstrated a capacity to generate very sharp global-local frictions. See, e.g., Eric Posner, The Absurd International Criminal Court, Wall St. J., June 11, 2012, at A13. Thus, for the sole purposes of analyzing global-local frictions, a sharp line between international criminal justice and transitional justice need not be drawn.

73For a fascinating account of the establishment of the Nuremburg tribunal and a recap of the debates that it engendered, see Gary J. Bass, Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals 147–205 (2000).

74With respect to the victor’s justice charge, Chief Justice Stone of the United States Supreme Court famously called the trials a “high-grade lynching party” and a “sanctimonious fraud.” See Louise Arbour, The Rule of Law and the Reach of Accountability, in The Rule of Law 104 (Cheryl Saunders & Katherine Le Roy eds., 2003).

75Gary J. Bass, supra note 73, at 158–60.

76Beyond its symbolic value, Nuremburg was also chosen out of convenience since its Palace of Justice was large and relatively undamaged by the war. See id. at 154 (noting President Roosevelt’s desire that “every person in Germany should realize that this time Germany is a defeated nation” and speculating that the aspect of the Nuremburg trials that may have most appealed to President Roosevelt was their educational value for the local population in terms of conveying some of the truth of what was done during the war).

77The majority of the defense counsel were German lawyers.

78See John Dugard, Obstacles in the Way of an International Criminal Court, 56 Cambridge L. J. 329, 329 (1997) (noting “[t]he enthusiasm generated by Nuremberg and Tokyo for a permanent court”).

79Between 1949 and 1954, the International Law Commission prepared several draft statutes that would have led to the creation of a permanent international criminal court, but they were eventually shelved. See id.

80See id. at 330.

81The ICTY is located in The Hague, the Netherlands, far from the killing fields of Bosnia. The ICTR is located in Arusha, Tanzania. Unlike the ICTY, the Rwandan government actually asked the Security Council to create a tribunal, though it eventually cast the sole dissenting vote against the tribunal due to its location outside of Rwanda, its primacy over Rwandan courts, and its lack of ability to impose the death penalty. Its relations with the tribunal have ranged from coolness to hostility. See Alison Des Forges & Timothy Longman, Legal Responses to Genocide in Rwanda, in My Neighbor, My Enemy: Justice and Community in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocity 49, 54 (Eric Stover & Harvey Weinstein eds., 2004).

82Makau Mutua, Never Again: Questioning the Yugoslav and Rwanda Tribunals, 11 Temp. Int’l & Comp. L.J. 167, 168 (1997).

83See Laurel Fletcher & Harvey Weinstein, A World Unto Itself? The Application of International Justice in the Former Yugoslavia, in My Neighbor, My Enemy: Justice and Community in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocity 29, 29 (Eric Stover & Harvey Weinstein eds., 2004); Timothy Longman et al., Connecting Justice to Human Experience: Attitudes Toward Accountability and Reconciliation in Rwanda, in My Neighbor, My Enemy: Justice and Community in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocity 206, 206 (Eric Stover & Harvey Weinstein eds., 2004).

84See Fletcher & Weinstein, supra note 83, at 32; Des Forges & Longman, supra note 81, at 53 (noting that in the early years of the ICTR, “[v]irtually none of the tribunals staff . . . knew anything about the history and culture of Rwanda.”).

85See id. at 32–33.

86See id. at 40. With regards to the ICTR, the tribunal’s failure to prosecute crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front has been seen by some as a form of victor’s justice. Int’l Crisis Grp. [ICG], International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda: Justice Delayed, at iii, ICG Africa Report N. 30 (June 7, 2001) [hereinafter ICG Report].

87ICG Report, supra note 86, at iii; see also Bert Ingeleare, The Gacaca courts in Rwanda, in Traditional Justice and Reconciliation after Violent Conflict: Learning from African Experiences 25, 31–45 (Luc Huyse & Mark Salter eds., 2008) (arguing that “[o]n Rwandan soil, the [International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda] is portrayed and thus perceived as an instance of the Western way of doing justice—highly inefficient, time-consuming, expensive and not adapted to Rwandan custom.”).

88See David Cohen, “Hybrid” Justice in East Timor, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia: “Lessons Learned” and Prospects for the Future, 43 Stan. J. Int’l L. 1, 5–6 (2007); Varda Hussain, Sustaining Judicial Rescues: The Role of Judicial Outreach and Capacity-Building Efforts in War Crimes Tribunals, 45 Va. J. Int’l L. 547, 551 (2005); see also Victor Peskin, Courting Rwanda: The Promises and Pitfalls of the ICTR Outreach Programme, 3 J. Int’l Crim. Just. 950, 950–61 (2005).

89Peter Uvin & Charles Mironko, Western and Local Approaches to Justice in Rwanda, 9 Global Governance 219, 221 (2003). This ICTR is not alone in this regard. Though hailed as modestly innovative, it has been argued that the Outreach Section of the Special Court for Sierra Leone “largely failed in its primary goal of educating Sierra Leoneans about the Special Court.” Stuart Ford, How Special is the Special Court’s Outreach Section?, in The Sierra Leone Special Court and Its Legacy: The Impact for Africa and International Law (Charles Jalloh ed., 2014).

90The preamble to the United Nations Security Council resolution establishing the ICTR provides that “the prosecution of persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law, would enable this aim [bringing effective justice] to be achieved and would contribute to the process of national reconciliation and to the restoration and maintenance of peace.” S.C. Res. 955, pmbl., U.N. Doc. S/RES/955 (Nov. 8, 1994).

91See Fletcher & Weinstein, supra note 83, at 32.

92See, e.g., Ramji-Nogales, supra note 10, at 29–38; Etelle R. Higonnet, Restructuring Hybrid Courts: Local Empowerment and National Criminal Justice Reform, 23 Ariz. J. Int’l Comp. L. 347, 347, 363–76, 387–88, 410–13, 425 (2006).

93See infra text accompanying note 81 (discussing the reasons for the Rwandan government’s opposition to the creation of the tribunal).

94The disparate treatment of defendants and those convicted has been a source of some resentment in Rwanda as it gives the impression that the “big fish” who orchestrated the genocide are being given better treatment than “rank-and-file” offenders. See Jennie E. Burnet, The Injustice of Local Justice: Truth, Reconciliation, and Revenge in Rwanda, 3 Genocide Stud. & Prevention 173, 175 (2008).

95Longman, supra note 83, at 206.

96See, e.g., Marlies Glasius, Do International Criminal Courts Require Democratic Legitimacy?, 23 Eur. J. of Int’l L. 43 (2012) (reviewing critiques of international courts).

97See Padraig McAuliffe, Hybrid Tribunals at Ten: How International Criminal Justice’s Golden Child Became an Orphan, 7 J. Int’l L. & Int’l Rel. 1, 64 (2011) (arguing that without a significant re-orientation of the priorities of international criminal justice policymakers, expectations for tribunals should be lowered).

98See Fletcher & Weinstein, supra note 83, at 30.

99A great deal has been written about the establishment, functioning, and failures of hybrid tribunals. See, e.g., McAuliffe, supra note 97; Cohen, supra note 88, at 5–6; Higonnet, supra note 92, at 347.

100There have been slight deviations from this norm. The trial of Charles Taylor before the Special Court for Sierra Leone was held in The Hague, due primarily to fears about security. See generally Giulia Bigi, The Decision of the Special Court for Sierra Leone to Conduct the Charles Taylor Trial in The Hague, 6 The Law and Prac. of Int’l Cts. & Tribunals 303 (2007).

101McAuliffe, supra note 97, at 10–22.

102See Cohen, supra note 88, at 1; Olga Martin-Ortega & Johanna Herman, Hybrid Tribunals: Interaction and Resistance in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cambodia, in Hybrid Forms of Peace: From Everyday Agency to Post-Liberalism 73 (Oliver Richmond & Audra Mitchell eds., 2012).

103Higonnet, supra note 92, at 349 (outlining the potential power of hybrid tribunals in theory if not reality); Ellen Stensrud, New Dilemmas in Transitional Justice: Lessons from the Mixed Courts in Sierra Leone and Cambodia, 46 J. Peace Res. 5, 7 (2009) (arguing that “[t]he combination of international standards through U.N. involvement and local ownership through physical proximity and national participation may increase the legitimacy of these mechanisms”).

104McAuliffe, supra note 97, at 23.

105George Yacoubian, Evaluating the Efficacy of the International Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia: Implications for Criminology and International Criminal Law, 165 World Aff. 133, 136 (2003).

106See McAuliffe, supra note 97, at 36 (noting that the hybrid tribunals were “hybrid in form but never in ethos.”); Higonnet, supra note 92, at 349.

107McAuliffe, supra note 97, at 36.

108See id. at 35 (2011); see also Cohen, supra note 88, at 36 (discussing challenges arising from unclear or contested ownership).

109Cohen, supra note 88, at 36.

110Mutua, supra note 82, at 168.

111Tom Perriello & Marieke Wierda, The Special Court for Sierra Leone Under Scrutiny, Prosecutions Case Study Series, International Center for Transitional Justice, New York, 2 (2006) (defining the spaceship phenomenon as “a Court that is perceived as a curiosity and an anomaly with little impact on citizens’ everyday lives.”).

112See, e.g., Caitlin Reiger, Hybrid Attempts at Accountability for Serious Crimes in Timor Leste, in Transitional Justice in the twenty-first Century: beyond truth versus justice 143–70 (Naomi Roht-Arriaza & Javier Mariezcurrena eds., 2006).

113Higonnet, supra note 92, at 349.

114McAuliffe, supra note 97, at 53–65.

115This is not to deemphasize the importance of national-level or “domestic” human rights prosecutions. Indeed, Kathryn Sikkink has shown that the worldwide crescendo of human rights prosecutions in recent decades rests upon a bedrock of national trials. See Sikkink, supra note 29, at 21.

116See generally Rome Statute, supra note 72. One obvious but notable distinction between the ad hoc tribunals and the ICC is that while the former were created by fiat of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), accession to the Rome Statute is voluntary, even if the UNSC retains the power to refer cases involving non-state parties to the Court under Article 13(b). In addition, provisions in the Rome Statute relating to victim access, participation, and compensation, as well as some flexibility as to where the court may sit represent a distinct improvement compared to the ad hoc tribunals, at least in principle. For review of the Court’s outreach work in practice, see Marlies Glasius, What is Global Justice and Who Decides? Civil Society and Victim Responses to the International Criminal Court’s First Investigations, 31 Hum. Rts. Q. 496, 509–20 (2009).

117Thus far, all of the Court’s official investigations are in Africa: Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Sudan (Darfur), and Uganda. See ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s website, http://www.icc-cpi.int (follow “English;” then follow “Structure of the Court;” then follow “Office of the Prosecutor”). Though it has yet to take advantage of it, it should be noted that a degree of flexibility has been built into the Rome Statute, allowing the Court to sit in locations outside of The Hague. See Rome Statute, supra note 72, art. 3 (While “[t]he seat of the Court shall be established at The Hague in the Netherlands,” “[t]he Court may sit elsewhere, whenever it considers it desirable.”). Judges at the ICC have recently suggested that it might be desirable to hold portions of a trial against Kenyan officials in either Kenya or neighboring Tanzania. ICC Delays Cases of William Ruto and Laurent Gbagbo, BBC News (June 3, 2013), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22762283.

118See Tim Murithi, African Approaches to Building Peace and Social Solidarity, 6 Afr. J. on Conflict Res. 9, 23–27 (2006).

119 ICC Delays Cases of William Ruto and Laurent Gbagbo, BBC News (June 3, 2013), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22762283; Jenny Vaughan and Aude Genet, Africa Closes Ranks to Condemn “Racist” ICC on Kenya Cases, AFP (May 27, 2013). Perspectives among ordinary Kenyans are highly varied, ranging from support for the ICC’s work in Kenya, to ambivalence, to opposition. See generally Thomas Obel Hansen, Kenya’s Power-Sharing Arrangement and Its Implications for Transitional Justice, 17 Int’l J. of Hum. Rts. 307 (2013).

120See African Union in Rift with Court, BBC NEWS (July 3, 2009), http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8133925.stm.

121See William Schabas, The Banality of International Justice, 11 J. Int’l J. Crim. Just. 545 (2013).

122See generally Hansen, supra note 119, at 307.

123Consider in this regard the potential controversy if George W. Bush or Donald Rumsfeld were arrested and put on trial outside of the United States. The possibility of similar scenarios helped spawn the American Service-Members Protection Act of 2002, 22 U.S.C. § 7427, a federal law adopted “to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not party.” It authorizes the President to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court.” Because “all means necessary” would not seem to preclude the use of force, the law has been nicknamed the “Hague Invasion Act.” See US: “Hague Invasion Act” Becomes Law, Human Rights Watch (Aug. 3, 2002), http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2002/08/03/us-hague-invasion-act-becomes-law.

124See Rosalind Shaw & Lars Waldorf, Introduction, in Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities After Mass Violence 19 (Rosalind Shaw & Lars Waldorf eds., 2010) (describing the ICC as “an uneasy and unstable compromise between international justice and state sovereignty”).

125See Rome Statute, supra note 72, at art. 17; Thomas Obel Hansen, A Critical Review of the ICC’s Recent Practice Concerning Admissibility Challenges and Complementarity, 13 Melbourne J. Int’l L. 217 (2012) (noting that “[T]he principle of complementarity . . . has often been pointed to as the cornerstone of the Rome Statute”). The phrase “unwilling or unable” is defined in only the broadest terms in the Statute, but under the Court’s emerging jurisprudence, it has largely come to pivot on a determination of inactivity. See id. at 218.

126Consider, for example, the various formulations of the emerging principle of the responsibility to protect, or “R2P,” where a nation state’s sovereignty effectively becomes conditional on its ability or willingness to protect its people from mass atrocities. See The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, The Responsibility to Protect xi (2001) (providing that while “primary responsibility” for protection lies with each individual state, “the principle of non-intervention yields to the international responsibility to protect” where the state is “unwilling or unable” to protect its people from serious harm); U.N. Secretary-General, Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, para. 201 U.N. Doc. A/59/565 (Dec. 2, 2004) (noting that there “is a growing acceptance that while sovereign Governments have the primary responsibility to protect their own citizens . . . when they are unable or unwilling to do so that responsibility should be taken up by the wider international community . . . .”). The threshold for intervention was arguably raised in 2005 with the language adopted in the World Summit Outcome Document where it was agreed that national authorities must “manifestly fail” to protect before intervention is warranted. G.A. Res. 60/1, para. 139, U.N. Doc. A/RES/60/1 (Sept. 15, 2005). Beyond R2P, a similar construction of a conditional sovereignty can be seen in the Obama Administration’s controversial claim to the right to unilaterally pursue and kill targets in states without consent if that country is deemed “unable or unwilling to suppress” what the United States believes to be a threat. See Department of Justice White Paper: Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qa’ida or an Associated Force, NBC News (2013), http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/020413_DOJ_White_Paper.pdf. Both R2P and the Obama administration’s terrorism policy might be considered to be an expression of a larger post Cold War trend where the “transformation of the adversary into a criminal [has] permitted, in the name of protecting humanity, intervention beyond state boundaries.” Pierre Hazan, Transitional Justice after September 11, in Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities After Mass Violence 52 (Rosalind Shaw & Lars Waldorf eds., 2010).

127See Rome Statute, supra note 72, at art. 87(7); see also Alexander Greenawalt, Complementarity in Crisis: Uganda, Alternative Justice, and the International Criminal Court, 50 Va. J. Int’l 107, 110 (2009). Aside from deference, it should be noted that the principle of complementarity also acknowledges the reality that the ICC is a court of limited jurisdiction without the resources to address the great bulk of the world’s human rights atrocities.

128See Greenawalt, supra note 127, at 141–44.

129Some scholars take exception to the word “traditional” as a description of such practices because it can imply that they are static and because it can also have pejorative implications. As noted in Part IV, infra., “traditional” practices used in the modern-day transitional justice context tend to be adaptations of much older forms of local justice and reconciliation practices.

130See Greenawalt, supra note 127, at 141–44.

131See Charles Jalloh, What Makes a Crime Against Humanity a Crime Against Humanity, 28 Am. U. Int’l L. Rev. 381, 419 (2013).

132Under Article 14(1), “A State Party may refer to the Prosecutor a situation in which one or more crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court appear to have been committed requesting the Prosecutor to investigate the situation for the purpose of determining whether one or more specific persons should be charged with the commission of such crimes.” Rome Statute, supra note 72, at art. 14(1).

133See generally, Tim Allen, Trial Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Lord’s Resistance Army (2006).

134See Branch, supra note 45, at 195. It should be noted, however, that the Acholi population is not a monolith, and there are also segments of the population that support ICC intervention. See Id. at 192.

135See Branch, supra note 45, at 187–90. The suggestion of partiality was not helped when then Chief Prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo appeared at a joint press conference in London with President Museveni in January 2004. See Michael Otim & Marieke Wierda, Justice at Juba: International Obligations and Local Demands in Northern Uganda, in Courting Conflict? Justice, Peace and the ICC in Africa 22 (Nicholas Waddell and Phil Clark eds., 2008). There are also suggestions that it was actually Moreno-Ocampo who first persuaded Museveni to file the “self-referral” in the first place, further giving the impression of some kind of unseemly partnership. See Phil Clark, Law, Politics and Pragmatism: The ICC and Case Selection in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, in Courting Conflict? Justice, Peace and the ICC in Africa 43 (Nicholas Waddell and Phil Clark eds., 2008).

136See Human Rights Watch, Turning Rhetoric into Reality: Accountability for Serious International Crimes in Cote d’Ivoire 10 (2013), available at http://www.hrw.org/reports/2013/04/03/turning-rhetoric-reality-0; see also Pascal Airault, Côte d’Ivoire – CPI: Gbagbo ou le Bénéfice du Doute, Jeune Afrique, (June 14, 2013) http://www.jeuneafrique.com/Article/JA2735p010-012.xml0/.

137See Janine Natalya Clark, Peace, Justice and the International Criminal Court: Limitations and Possibilities, 9 J. Int’l Crim. Just. 521, 527–29 (2011).

138See Glasius, supra note 116, at 519 (arguing that “[o]n the basis of current indictments [the ICC prosecutor] could even be accused of exercising victor’s justice . . . He has helped governments, including some that are none too friendly to human rights, to constrain rebels and rogue states under the banner of international law.”).

139For this reason, it has been argued that a “stakeholder assessment” employing qualitative interviews, ethnographies, focus groups, or population-based surveys should be carried out prior to a transitional justice intervention in order to discern local preferences, values, and cultural knowledge. See Ramji-Nogales, supra note 10, at 63–67. Nogales argues that under this model, the ICC prosecutor “would issue an indictment only if the population expresses a preference for international prosecutions in a distant location.” Id. at 70. While efforts along these lines to gain a greater appreciation of context would be a welcome step forward in many instances, at the same time, in the case of a potential ICC intervention based on a self-referral by a national government, this would raise some serious questions about sovereignty in the context of international justice. Even where a government might not be fully representative or a population divided, one could ask whether it is appropriate for an international treaty-based institution to do an end run around a state party in this way.

140See Greenawalt, supra note 127, at 159.

141In her authoritative book on the topic, Priscilla Hayner documents the existence of forty modern-day truth commissions. Hayner, supra note 28, at 256–62. Since that volume’s publication, new commissions have emerged in Côte d’Ivoire and Brazil. See International Center for Transitional Justice, http://www.ictj.org/our-work/regions-and-countries/cote-divoire (last visited Sept. 19, 2014); see also Transitional Justice in Brazil, http://transitionaljusticeinbrazil.com/truth-commission-brazil/ (last visited Sept. 6, 2014).

142Sharp, supra note 62, at 84–90.

143There has been at least one call for a permanent international truth commission. See generally, Michael Scharf, The Case for a Permanent International Truth Commission, 7 Duke J. Comp. & Int’l L. 375 (1997). That said, as Hayner has noted, “[m]ost truth commissions are predominantly national, in both commission members and staff.” Hayner, supra note 28, at 214–15. A notable exception is El Salvador where the truth commission was under the administration and oversight of the United Nations, with an entirely foreign staff and set of commissioners. Id. at 214.

144Rama Mani, Rebuilding an Inclusive Political Community After War, 36 Sec. Dialogue 511, 519 (2005).

145See David Mendeloff, Truth-Seeking, Truth-Telling, and Postconflict Peacebuilding: Curb the Enthusiasm?, 6 Int’l Stud. Rev. 355, 355–56 (2004) (noting that truth-telling is increasingly considered a necessary component of the post-conflict peacebuilding process, together with demobilization, disarmament, and the holding of postwar elections).

146See Carsten Stahn, Justice Under Transitional Administration: Contours and Critique of a Paradigm, 27 Hous. J. Int’l L. 311, 335–36 (2005).

147See Mark Freeman & Veerle Opgenhaffen, Int’l Ctr. Transitional Just., Transitional Justice in Morocco: A Progress Report 2–3 (November 2005), http://ictj.org/sites/default/files/ICTJ-Morocco-Progress-Report-2005-English.pdf; see also Morocco, ICTY’s Role, Int’l Ctr. Transitional Just., http://ictj.org/our-work/regions-and-countries/morocco (last visited July 22, 2013).

148Cavallaro & Albuja, supra note 62, at 125.

149See generally Rosalind Shaw, Rethinking Truth and Reconciliation Commissions; Lessons from Sierra Leone (United States Institute for Peace Special Report 130, 2005).

150See id. at 9.

151Mani, supra note 144, at 519.

152Hayner, supra note 28, at 197–203.

153See Rosalind Shaw, Rethinking Truth and Reconciliation Commissions; Lessons from Sierra Leone, Special Rep. for the U.S. Inst. of Peace, Feb. 2005, at 1, available at http://www.usip.org/resources/rethinking-truth-and-reconciliation-commissions-lessons-sierra-leone.

154See generally Kelsall, supra note 46, at 361.

155See generally Mendeloff, supra note 145, at 355.

156See id. at 358–61 (2004) (outlining claims made with respect to the beneficial effects of truth commissions on social healing and reconciliation, justice, the official historical record, public education, institutional reform, democracy, and deterrence).

157A 2011 U.N. report on the rule of law together with annexes invokes the word “ownership” no less than 17 times. See U.N. Secretary-General, Strengthening and Coordinating United Nations Rule of Law Activities, U.N. Doc. A/66/133 (August 8, 2011). While this may be an extreme example, Simon Chesterman, who has written widely about the concept of ownership in post-conflict peacebuilding, has noted that “[e]very U.N. mission and development programme now stresses the importance of local ‘ownership.’” Chesterman, supra note 1, at 41. The concept itself is often traced to the field of economic development, and represents the evolution in some ways of concepts like participatory development. See Chesterman, supra note 9, at 7; see also Benjamin de Carvalho & Niels Nagelhus Schia, Local and National Ownership in Post-Conflict Liberia: Foreign and Domestic Inside Out? 3, 6 (Security in Practice, NUPI Working Paper No. 787, 2011).

158See id. at 1–6.

159See Donais, supra note 9, at 5; see also Chesterman, supra note 9, at 9. Indeed, far short of giving meaningful content to “ownership,” Longman has argued that “[g]overnments and international institutions, such as the United Nations, rarely, if ever, consult affected populations when formulating policies aimed at rebuilding post-war societies.” Longman, supra note 83, at 206. But see Anna Triponel & Stephen Pearson, What do You Think Should Happen? Public Participation in Transitional Justice, 22 Pace Int’l L. Rev. 103 (2010) (examining a trend toward increasing public consultation in the set up phase of transitional justice mechanisms).

160See Patricia Lundy, Exploring Home-Grown Transitional Justice and Its Dilemmas: A Case Study of the Historical Enquiries Team, Northern Ireland, 3 Int’l J. Transitional Just. 321, 329 (2009) (arguing that “the concept of local/home-grown transitional justice is capable of being expropriated and manipulated to mask or serve other interests and ‘unjust’ practices”).

161Bendix & Stanley, supra note 8, at 101.

162Chesterman, supra note 9, at 7–10.

163See Donais, supra note 5, at 755, 772.

164See Uvin, supra note 14, at 186.

165Leopold von Carlowitz, Geneva Ctr. for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), Local Ownership in Practice: Justice systems reform in kosovo and liberia 54 (2011), available at http://www.dcaf.ch/content/download/35955/527124/files/op23.pdf (observing that while they often possess technical knowledge and professional skills, international actors mostly lack sufficient knowledge of local structures and traditions).

166Talentino, supra note 6, at 153.

167See Stahn, supra note 146, at 326; von Carlowitz, supra note 165, at 54 (observing that “local ownership might remain rhetoric because international actors are unwilling to allow their local counterparts to make their own mistakes.”); An-Na’im, supra note 39, at 199 (arguing that “the practice of justice for every society can only emerge through an indigenous process of trial and error.”).

168Stahn, supra note 146, at 326.

169See Vanessa Pupavac, Pathologizing Populations and Colonizing Minds: International Psychosocial Programs in Kosovo, 27 Alternatives: Global, Loc., Pol. 489, 490 (2002).

170See Uvin, supra note 14, at 185 (2001); see also Stahn, supra note 146, at 329.

171See Gerald Knaus & Felix Martin, Travails of the European Raj, 14 J. of Democracy 58, 64 (2003) (exploring tensions between unaccountable international intervention and the need to plant the seeds of democratic politics in Bosnia); see also Stahn, supra note 146, at 330 (exploring how the United Nations Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo absolved itself of legal checks on its power, making accountability a one-way street where locals are expected to bear the costs).

172See Richmond, supra note 69, at 158–59; Mazlish, supra note 25, at 95.

173Examples are not in short supply, but post-war Sierra Leone and Liberia would be among the more challenging of such contexts.

174As an example, the brutal Liberian civil war spanned more than a decade, resulting in the loss of as many as 250,000 lives and the displacement of 1 million individuals. These are staggering numbers for a country whose pre-war population numbered just over 2 million. See Sharp, supra note 62. In Rwanda, 10% of the population of 8 million had been killed and over 2 million had fled to neighboring countries. See Barbara Oomen, Donor-Driven Justice and its Discontents: The Case of Rwanda, 36 Dev. & Change 887, 900 (2005).

175See Donais, supra note 5, at 759; see also Edward Joseph, Ownership is Over-rated, 27 SAIS Rev. 109, 119 (2007) (contending that in some instances locals “do not take ownership of their problems primarily because they do not agree on who ought to be the owner.”).

176See Donais, supra note 5, at 759.

177Of course, the dangers of insertion of self-interest by international elites into the peacebuilding process can be equally problematic. See Kristoffer Lidén, Roger Mac Ginty & Oliver P. Richmond, Introduction: Beyond Northern Epistemologies of Peace: Peacebuilding Reconstructed?, 16 Int’l Peacekeeping 587, 594 (2009); see also Knaus & Martin, supra note 171, at 66 (noting that like all institutions, international peacebuilding missions have a tendency to pursue self-interest).

178de Carvalho & Schia, supra note 157, at 3.

179See Lucius Botes & Dingie van Rensburg, Community Participation in Development: Nine Plagues and Twelve Commandments, 35 Community Dev. J. 41, 50–51 (2000) (discussing the tensions in the context of development projects between pressures for results and the process demands of community participation); Stahn, supra note 146, at 336–37 (noting that greater local ownership with respect to judicial reconstruction in Afghanistan led to a slower process that was less protective of individual rights).

180See Bosire, supra note 55, at 72.

181See Simon Chesterman, You, the People: The United Nations, Transitional Administration, and State-building 242 (2003).

182See Matthew Saul, Local Ownership of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda: Restorative and Retributive Effects, 12 Int’l Crim. L. Rev. 427, 434 (2012) (arguing that one cannot always assume that “more local ownership will always be desirable.” Rather, “it is possible that in some contexts where it is self-evident that there is a need for an international criminal tribunal, it might be in the best interests of the situation overall for there to not be any particular effort to incorporate local ownership into the establishment process.”).

183In the case of the ICC, one might say that the opportunity for full local ownership effectively disappears the moment a state is deemed “unwilling or unable” to prosecute under the terms of Article 17 of the Rome Statute.

184See Joseph, supra note 175, at 115–16.

185An-Na’im, supra note 39, at 202.

186See Joseph, supra note 175, at 115–16.

187Id.

188See McAuliffe, supra note 97, at 8–9, 24–28; see also Stahn, supra note 146, at 318–20 (reviewing some of the challenges of national courts that may bolster an argument for some international involvement).

189This dilemma is particularly acute in the case of Gacaca given the strong argument that it would have been impossible for Rwanda to comply with all international standards relating to accountability norms, victims’ rights, and due process.

190See Matthew Saul, supra note 182, at 434 (noting that an increase in local ownership could come with complications that can actually reduce legitimacy). Consider in this regard the example of Gacaca in Rwanda, which though locally owned in the sense of literal control by the Rwandan government, has minimal legitimacy in the eyes of many local constituencies. See Burnet, supra note 94, at 183, 188.

191Observation based on the author’s experience documenting human rights violations in Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire for Human Rights Watch.

192Mazlish, supra note 25, at 98–99.

193Id.

194de Carvalho & Schia, supra note 157, at 3.

195See Chesterman, supra note 181, at 242 (arguing that in practice “ownership . . . is usually not intended to mean control and often does not even imply a direct input into political questions.”).

196See Lundy, supra note 160, at 329 (cautioning against using the local in simply binary terms).

197See Mark Goodale, Locating Rights, Envisioning Law Between the Global and the Local, in The Practice of Human Rights 5, 15–16 (Mark Goodale & Sally Engle Merry eds., 2007).

198Id. at 14–15.

199See Patricia Lundy, Paradoxes and Challenges of Transitional Justice at the “Local” Level: Historical Enquiries in Northern Ireland, 6 Contemporary Social Science 89, 93 (reviewing perspectives that seek to move beyond the “stark and mutually exclusive binary oppositions of ‘local’ and global that tend to dominate transitional justice literature.”); Mazlish, supra note 25, at 99.

200See Mark Goodale, Locating Rights, Envisioning Law Between the Global and the Local, in The Practice of Human Rights 5, 23 (Mark Goodale & Sally Engle Merry eds., 2007).

201See Susan Thomson & Rosemary Nagy, Law, Power and Justice: What Legalism Fails to Address in the Functioning of Rwanda’s Gacaca Courts, 5 Int’l J. Transitional Just. 11, 23 (2010) (positioning the turn to the local in transitional justice as a “corrective to the shortcomings of internationalized, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approaches.” Id. at 11).

202See Peterson, supra note 70, at 14.

203If focusing on the case of Gacaca, I do not mean to conflate the local with customary law and tradition or to suggest that the dilemmas of the local can be solved by mere incorporation of local ritual. Ultimately, giving greater weight to the local in matters of post-conflict justice must address the deeper and fundamental privileging of Western liberal responses to atrocity that may crowd out other ways of understanding and doing justice. Nevertheless, examination of the tensions associated with the embrace of local ritual and tradition as seen in the Gacaca process is useful to help complicate simplistic binary notions of global and local, and as an antidote to the romanticization of the local that initially accompanied Gacaca. See Oomen, supra note 174, at 903 (noting that there was “an element of Orientalism” in the appeal that Gacaca held for the international community).

204There is an ample literature on Gacaca, including its historical origins and evolution. See generally Phil Clark, The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda: Justice Without Lawyers (2010); Burnet, supra note 94, at 177; Lars Waldorf, Mass Justice for Mass Atrocity: Rethinking Local Justice as Transitional Justice, 79 Temp. L. Rev. 1 (2006); Timothy Longman, Justice at the Grassroots? Gacaca Trials in Rwanda, in Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Truth Versus Justice 206, 206–28 (Naomi Roht-Arriaza & Javier Mariezcurrena eds., 2006).

205See Burnet, supra note 94, at 177.

206See Des Forges & Longman, supra note 81, at 58.

207See Burnet, supra note 206, at 175.

208Id. at 176.

209See Oomen, supra note 174, at 902.

210See Bert Ingelare, The Gacaca Courts in Rwanda, in Traditional Justice and Reconciliation after Violent Conflict: Learning from African Experiences 25, 31–36. (Luc Huyse & Mark Salter eds., 2008).

211See Oomen, supra note 174, at 897 (noting the “massive support” on the part of donors for Gacaca).

212In describing the ways in which Gacaca was adapted, I do not mean to suggest that its pre-genocide or “traditional” form was static. As noted by Luc Huyse, “traditional techniques, in Rwanda and in other African post-conflict countries, have been greatly altered in form and substances by the impact of colonization, modernization, and civil war.” Luc Huyse, Introduction: Tradition-based Approaches in Peacemaking, Transitional Justice, and Reconciliation Policies, in Traditional Justice and Reconciliation after Violent Conflict: Learning from African Experiences 1, 6–7 (Luc Huyse & Mark Salter eds., 2008). In this sense, the label “traditional” is potentially problematic insofar as it suggests a practice not subject to constant change. See id. at 7. Bert Ingelare argues that the “new” Gacaca is such a radical departure from the “old” that it represents an “invented tradition.” Ingelare, supra note 211, at 32. Others have suggested terms such as “reinvented tradition” and “neo-traditional.”

213See Waldorf, supra note 205, at 48 (noting that “traditional gacaca generally did not treat cattle theft, murder, or other serious crimes, which were handled by chiefs or the king’s representatives”).

214See Justice Compromised: The Legacy of Rwanda’s Community Based Gacaca Courts 4, Human Rights Watch (May 2011), http://www.hrw.org/reports/2011/05/31/justice-compromised-0.

215For a more upbeat, though cautious assessment at the outset of the implementation of Gacaca, see generally Timothy Longman, supra note 205; see also Oomen, supra note 174, at 902 (noting that Gacaca was once heralded as “ground-breaking” and “revolutionary.”).

216Paul Gready, Reconceptualizing Transitional Justice: Embedded and Distanced Justice, 5 Conflict, Security & Dev’t 3, 13 (2005).

217See Christine Venter, Eliminating Fear through Recreating Community in Rwanda: the Role of the Gacaca Courts, 13 Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev. 577, 580 (2007) (describing Gacaca as a “uniquely Rwandan . . . grassroots [effort] to deal with the genocide . . . from the bottom up.”). Of course, the Rwandan government itself was also at some pains to present Gacaca as homegrown and locally devised. See Oomen, supra note 174, at 902.

218See generally Oomen, supra note 174, at 887.

219Huyse, supra note 213, at 8.

220See Patricia Lundy, Paradoxes and Challenges of Transitional Justice at the “Local” Level: Historical Enquiries in Northern Ireland, 6 Contemporary Social Science 89, 93 (2011).

221See generally, Triponel & Pearson, supra note 159, at 103 (examining trend toward increasing public consultation in the set up phase of transitional justice mechanisms).

222See Lundy, supra note 160, at 329. The concept of participation has a long history in the field of development, and is both revered and reviled in the literature for its power to both empower and co-opt. For a review of the history and trajectory of the concept, see generally Sam Hickey & Giles Mohan, Towards Participation as Transformation: Critical Themes and Challenges, in Participation: From Tyranny to Transformation? (Samuel Hickey & Giles Mohan eds., 2004).

223See Rubli, supra note 54, at 11–12.

224See Hickey & Mohan, supra note 223, at 4.

225See Oomen, supra note 174, at 899–902 (discussing the “increasingly oppressive” and authoritarianism climate in Rwanda).

226Many ordinary Rwandans prefer the Gacaca courts over Rwanda’s national courts and the ICTR. See Ingelare, supra note 211, at 51. At the same time, it is seen by other Rwandans as an imposition from Kigali. See Burnet, supra note 94, 188 (2008); see also See Oomen, supra note 174, at 904 (noting that “the public at large seemed to increasingly consider the [Gacaca] meetings as mandatory events to sit through, just like community service.”).

227See generally, Triponel & Pearson, supra note 159, at 103.

228See Ingelare, supra note 211, at 46–47, 55.

229See Burnet, supra note 94, 188.

230See id.

231See Christopher Le Mon, Rwanda’s Troubled Gacaca Courts, 14 Hum. Rts Brief 16 (Winter 2007), available at http://www.wcl.american.edu/hrbrief/14/2lemon.pdf. The RPF was the military victor in the Rwandan conflict and has effectively set the agenda for post-genocide Rwanda without much restraint. See Ingelare, supra note 211, at 31–32.

232Phil Clark has written a comprehensive review of Gacaca, delving into strengths and weaknesses in great detail. See Phil Clark, The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda; Justice without Lawyers (2010); see also Ingelare, supra note 211, at 51–57 (evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of Gacaca).

233These include the fact that the Gacaca process actually led to increases in the numbers of the accused and detained. See Burnet, supra note 94, at 178. It may have also increased conflict in some communities. See id. at 174.

234See Oomen, supra note 174, at 906–07; see also Thomson & Nagy, supra note 202, at 13 (describing Gacaca as a “state-imposed” project).

235See Thomson & Nagy, supra note 202, at 13 (noting that legal systems, traditional or otherwise, “inescapably embody prevailing constellations of power.”).

236See Andrew Iliff, Root and Branch: Discourses of ‘Tradition’ in Grassroots Transitional Justice, 6 Int’l J. Transitional Justice 253, 256 (arguing that Gacaca was used to “bolster[] the current Rwandan government’s framing of the genocide as a singular event legitimating its authoritarian rule.” Id. at 260).

237For a review of the ways in which the universality debate in human rights can inform dilemmas of the global and the local that arise in the transitional justice context, see generally Viaene & Brems, supra note 23, at 199; see also Alexander Betts, Should Approaches to Post-conflict Justice and Reconciliation be Determined Globally, Nationally, or Locally?, 17 Eur. J. Dev. Res. 736, 740–44 (2005) (discussing the ways in which the universalism-versus-relativism debate played out in post-genocide Rwanda).

238It is important to note that not all attempts to integrate local or “traditional” approaches to post-conflict justice and reconciliation have been as controversial as Gacaca. These efforts have not typically substituted for trials and truth commissions, but have served as an important complement to them. For example, in East Timor’s Community Reconciliation Process, reconciliation between perpetrators and former combatants with members of their estranged communities was facilitated by drawing upon elements of local ritual, arbitration, and mediation practice. See generally Patrick Burgess, A New Approach to Restorative Justice – East Timor’s Community Reconciliation Process, in Transitional Justice in the twenty-first Century: beyond truth versus justice 176–205 (Naomi Roht-Arriaza & Javier Mariezcurrena eds., 2006). In Sierra Leone, the formal, state-sanctioned truth commission incorporated aspects of local ritual into its work. See generally Tim Kelsall, supra note 46, at 361. The non-governmental organization Fambul Tok (“Family Talk” in the Krio language) has also worked to facilitate a context-specific response to reconciliation. See generally Augustine S.J. Park, Community-Based Restorative Transitional Justice in Sierra Leone, 13 Contemp. Just. Rev. 95 (2010). All of these efforts have been marked by significant elements of global-local hybridity.

239The concept of hybridity has been offered in the broader context of peacebuilding as one way to begin to move beyond simple global-local debates and to better capture the complexity of the relationships between the many actors involved. See generally Roger Mac Ginty, International Peacebuilding and Local Resistance (2011). Hybridized forms of peacebuilding that involve a mixture of conventional and local practices and models are also offered as one way to begin to move beyond the confines of liberal international peacebuilding. See Edward Newman, Roland Paris, Oliver P. Richmond, Introduction, in New Perspectives on Liberal Peacebuilding 16 (Edward Newman et al. eds., 2009). In addition to being a useful analytical tool, in some cases the concept is portrayed as “a desirable political project[] that could stimulate alternatives and counter what is perceived to be hegemonic, externally driven liberal programming.” Peterson, supra note 70, at 10. For the application of a hybridity lens to post-conflict justice more specifically, see generally, Chandra Lekha Sriram, Post-Conflict Justice and Hybridity in Peacebuilding: Resistance or Cooptation, in Hybrid Forms of Peace: From Everyday Agency to Post-Liberalism (Oliver Richmond & Audra Mitchell eds., 2012).

240Existing U.N. doctrine does not really allow for this. In a landmark 2004 report on transitional justice, for example, former Secretary General Kofi Annan notes that “due regard must be given to indigenous and informal traditions” yet suggests in the same sentence that “due regard” will only be extended insofar as there is “conformity” with international standards. Rule of Law, supra note 1, at paras. 16-17, 36. As I suggest below, space must be made for a substantial “margin of appreciation.”

241See Lundy & McGovern, supra note 60, at 279 (noting that “[d]espite being identified as key issues in international reports and development circles for years, the virtues of local ownership, empowerment, and participatory approaches have tended only to be implemented in a vague, weak, and ad hoc manner.”).

242See Harvey Weinstein et al., Stay the Hand of Justice; Whose Priorities Take Priority, in Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities After Mass Violence 35 (Rosalind Shaw & Lars Waldorf eds., 2010) (noting that “there has been little room for consideration of broader or alternative approaches, especially those that might emerge out of different or non-western conceptions of justice.”).

243See Okello, supra note 64, at 277 (noting that a call for greater weight to be placed on the local “does not in itself represent a shift in the underlying assumptions of the field—at most, it is a shift in emphasis.”).

244See An-Na’im, supra note 39, at 197 (observing that the dominant transitional justice paradigms are so strong that “even the possibility of an indigenous alternative conception of justice is not taken seriously at a theoretical or empirical level.”).

245See Baines, supra note 3, at 411–12, 414–15.

246See Viaene & Brems, supra note 23, at 210 (reviewing the margin of appreciation doctrine that has developed under the European Convention on Human Rights).

247On the complexities of legal pluralism in international law more broadly, see generally Brian Tamanha, Understanding Legal Pluralism: Past to Present, Local to Global, 30 Sydney L. Rev. 375 (2008).

248Using different terminology, scholars from a range of disciplines have made attempts to carve out a position between strong universalism and strong relativism. See, e.g., Ronald Cohen, Human Rights and Cultural Relativism: The Need for A New Approach, 91 Am. Anthropologist 1014, 1015–16 (1989) (calling for a middle ground between “simplistic polarities of relativism versus universalism.”); Gérard Cohen-Jonathan, Universalité et Singularité des Droits de l’Homme, 53 Revue Trimestrielle des Droits de l’Homme 1, 11 (2003) (discussing a “pluralist” conception of human rights); Paul Healy, Human Rights and Intercultural Relations, 32 Phil. & Soc. Criticism 513, 513 (2006) (arguing for a middle ground between ethnocentric universalism and radical cultural relativism); Anne Hellum, Women’s Human Rights and African Customary Laws: Between Universalism and Relativism – Individualism and Communitarianism, 10 Eur. J. Dev. Res. 88, 96 (1998) (using the idea of “cultural pluralism” to create a space between universalism and relativism).

249See Mazlish, supra note 25, at 99 (discussing the idea of local giving way to larger local).

250See generally An-Na’im, supra note 39, at 197.

251See Uvin, supra note 14, at 186 (arguing that “[t]aken to its extreme, the new post-conflict agenda, then, amounts to a license for interventionism so deep and unchecked it resembles colonialism”).

252For an argument that so-called “best practices” tend to promote an undesirable uniformity and bias interventions towards the global rather than the local, see generally Warren Feek, Best of Practices?, 17 Dev’t in Practice 653 (2007).

253See Iliff, supra note 237, at 262.