The Victims Catharsis: A Battle of Peace versus Justice

Kanika Adake AND Piali Thatte
DES’s Shri Navalmal Firodia Law College, Pune

Volume III, Issue III, 2020

“The quest for justice for yesterday’s victims of atrocities should not be pursued in such a manner that it makes today’s living the dead of tomorrow” The international community has long since debated over the peace versus justice conundrum without coming to any definitive conclusion. It has turned the war between the oppressors and the oppressed into a never-ending cycle of victims turning into perpetrators and giving rise to yet more classes of victims. The pursuit of countries to resolve this conflict has also been an incessant chain of either sacrificing peace to deliver justice to the victims or paying the price of justice in order to obtain peace. This multifaceted puzzle between the peace first or justice first approach adopted by peace negotiators has largely ignored the grim realities of the victims living and surviving through the perpetrator’s atrocities. Although this paper does not intend to provide a concrete solution for this debate that has been unsettled amongst the scholars for decades; it attempts to throw light on a nuanced approach for satisfactorily gauging the actual impact of this from the victim’s perspective. It endeavours to highlight the harsh reality of the dichotomy that exists between the meaning of peace and justice for a country against the actual needs of its people. And finally, it explores the Columbian model of ‘pardon for peace’ that emphasizes holding violators accountable through a justice mechanism in order to facilitate victim catharsis and obtain a balance between justice for the victims and peace for the nation.

Keywords: Armed Conflict, Atrocities, Conflict Resolution, Forgiveness laws, Justice, Peace, Perpetrators, Victims


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