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Perpetrators and victims

Local responses to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Johanna Mannergren Selimovic

Keywords: Bosnia-Herzegovina; International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY); reconciliation; transitional justice

This article juxtaposes local understandings and narratives on justice and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina with those of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). By looking at notions of collective innocence/guilt, the development of victim identities, and the relativization of the suffering of the other, it explores the failure of the ICTY to offer a convincing model of transitional justice in Bosnia. Although the ICTY disciplines the boundary between victim and perpetrator through measures for shared truth and individual justice, local discourses resist or transform these representations, thus tending to entrench rather than transcend national divisions. The findings of this article challenge prevalent instrumentalist understandings of transitional justice and its role in facilitating reconciliation. The article focuses on the communities of Konjic and Srebrenica and the ICTY outreach conferences held in these towns in 2004 and 2005.

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