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Using International Criminal Law to Resist Transitional Justice

Legal Rupture in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Mikael Baaz and Mona Lilja

An increasing body of literature focuses on negotiations of transitional justice, but not much has been written so far regarding contestations over its practices and the refusal of states and individuals to participate. Given the remaining legalistic dominance, this is particularly true regarding the field of international criminal law. Very little, if any, work in international criminal law engages with the topic of “resistance.” Departing from this gap in research, focusing on Cambodia and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the objective of this article is to introduce, discuss, and analyze the “strategy of rupture”—as developed by the late French lawyer Jacques Vergès—and the ways in which this legal defense has been applied in practice at the ECCC in order to resist not only the Tribunal per se, but also the entire Cambodian transitional justice process and, by extension, the post–Cold War global liberal project.

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Mathijs Pelkmans

This essay reviews the revolutionary situations that recently emerged in the post-Soviet world, focusing on the 'Tulip Revolution' in Kyrgyzstan. Observers were quick to explain this revolution in terms of democratic resistance to authoritarianism. This view is particularly problematic given that Kyrgyzstan was among the 'fast reformers' in the region and made its name as an 'island of democracy'. Instead of assuming that problems started when the country digressed from the ideals of liberal democracy, this essay argues that democratic reform and market-led development generated both the space and motivations for revolutionary action. Democratic reforms created the possibility of political dissent, while neo-liberal policies resulted in economic decline and social dislocations in which a temporary coalition between rural poor and dissenting political leaders was born.

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Satirical Panels against Censorship

A Battle That Raged during the Spanish Transition

Gerardo Vilches

In mid-1970s Spain, many new satirical magazines featured a strong political stance opposing Francisco Franco’s regime and in favour of democracy. Magazines with a significant amount of comics-based content constituted a space for political and social critics, as humour allowed them to go further than other media. However, legal authorities tried to censor and punish them. This article analyses the relationship between the Spanish satirical press and censorship and focuses on the difficulties their publishers and authors encountered in expressing their criticism of the country’s social changes. Various cartoonists have been interviewed, and archival research carried out. In-depth analysis of the magazines’ contents is used to gain an overview of a political and social period in recent Spanish history, in which the satirical press uniquely tackled several issues.

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Emma Terama, Juha Peltomaa, Catarina Rolim and Patrícia Baptista

The popularity of car sharing as part of the urban mobility repertoire has barely increased from a niche contribution in recent decades. Although holding potential to address local issues such as congestion and air quality, but even more crucially to meet the urgent need to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions from traffic, car sharing often meets barriers stemming from local contexts, regulatory environments, and/or lack of political support or consumer awareness. In this article, we discuss the interdependencies of these barriers and provide some key elements to consider in the future when planning practical implementation, research initiatives, and policy support for car sharing in order to overcome the complex and interrelated barriers.

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Matthew P. Romaniello

With the arrival of volume 17, our readers will notice there have been some changes to the editorial organization of Sibirica. My predecessor, John Ziker, has stepped away from his role as editor after several years of dedicated service. We are fortunate that he will still be involved with the journal moving forward, taking on the new role of book review editor as well as acting as an associate editor to help with the transition. Dmitry Arzyutov has also joined the journal as a new associate editor. Dmitry produced a special issue for Sibirica last year, “Beyond the Anthropological Texts: History and Theory of Fieldworking in the North,” and we look forward to his future contributions to the journal as an exciting new voice in the field. There have also been several changes to the editorial advisory board, beginning with the appointment of Alexander King, who joins it after many years of service as one of our editors. Our other new board members are Alfrid Bustanov, Jessica Graybill, Igor Krupnik, Erika Monahan, and Hiroki Takakura. This established and prominent group only adds to the stature of our returning board members, extending our breadth and depth in the fields, as well as bringing in expertise in new approaches and methodologies that will complement our existing work.

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Daniel Breslau

Hess, David J. 2012. Good Green Jobs in a Global Economy: Making and Keeping New Industries in the United States. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Verbong, Geert, and Derk Loorbach, eds. 2012. Governing the Energy Transition: Reality, Illusion or Necessity? New York: Routledge.

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Rethinking Resistance to Transitional Justice

Briony Jones and Thomas Brudholm

Transitional justice, as a process and set of mechanisms designed to address human rights violations of the past, is a project of transformation. Designed to deal with legacies of past wrongs, transitional justice ideally aims to address their root causes, to adjudicate social and institutional responsibilities, to transform the institutional contexts and power relations that enabled human rights violations to take place, to restore, repair, or facilitate new relationships and to promote national unity and reconciliation. Now an established policy response to the end of civil war, authoritarian regimes or occupation, transitional justice has been the focus of scholarly attention for long enough to have warranted a critical turn, both in terms of the way transitional justice is theorized (Corradetti, Eisikovits, and Rotondi 2015; Hirsch 2012) and the way in which it is implemented and experienced in practice. Examples of such critiques include accusations of imposition of western norms that are not culturally meaningful in some contexts, of the dominance of legal approaches to justice at the expense of the restorative and symbolic, of its instrumentalization by the powerful for the consolidation of authority or privilege, and of limited evidence that it actually has a positive impact on justice and peace (see, e.g., Iliff 2012; Leebaw 2008; Pouligny 2005).

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Fighting Fire with Fire

Resistance to Transitional Justice in Bahrain

Ciara O'Loughlin

Recent decades have seen an explosion of interest in transitional justice. Although much attention has been directed toward measuring the effects of transitional justice mechanisms, discussion of the motivations for and manifestations of resistance to transitional justice processes has been limited. Th is article contributes to this underexamined area through an analysis of the nature of resistance to transitional justice in Bahrain following the February 2011 uprisings. It identifies existing explanations for resistance to and engagement with transitional justice before considering whether Mitchell Dean’s analytics of government approach—with its emphasis on identifying discrepancies between actors’ declared and actual intentions—assists in revealing less obvious manifestations of resistance, such as those seen in Bahrain. It is suggested that adopting the institutional manifestations of transitional justice may, paradoxically, be understood as a strategy for resisting popular demands for accountability and political transformation—the very notions at the core of any transition.

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On the Notion of Historical (Dis)Continuity

Reinhart Koselleck's Construction of the Sattelzeit

Gabriel Motzkin

The author contends that a transition period is conceived in terms of its continuity with preceding or subsequent periods, rather than an entirely discontinuous temporal unit. Thus, in order to conceive of a period of transition, one must assume an overarching historical continuity. This contrasts with Reinhart Koselleck's and Michel Foucault's conception of the period of transition to modernity which is at once a break and part of the modern period. By analyzing how time is experienced in terms of contemporary awareness and retrospective consciousness, the author maps out the epistemological determinations that allow for the conception of a period of transition to modernity such as Sattelzeit.

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A Social Negotiation of Hope

Male West African Youth

Christian Ungruhe and James Esson

This article examines the present-day perception among boys and young men in West Africa that migration through football offers a way of achieving social standing and improving their life chances. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork among footballers in urban southern Ghana between 2010 and 2016, we argue that young people’s efforts to make it abroad and “become a somebody” through football is not merely an individual fantasy; it is rather a social negotiation of hope to overcome widespread social immobility in the region. It is this collective practice among a large cohort of young males—realistic or not—which qualifies conceptualizations of youth transitions such as waithood that dominate academic understanding of African youth today.