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Law and Justice in the Shadows of Violence

Iavor Rangelov
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2486.2011.01026.x 294-299 First published online: 1 June 2011
Fictions of Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Challenge of Legal Pluralism in Sub-Saharan Africa. Edited by Kamari Maxine Clarke. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. 324 pp., $34.99 paperback (ISBN-13: 978-0-591-71779-3).
Mirrors of Justice: Law and Power in the Post-Cold War Era. Edited by Kamari Maxine Clarke, Mark Goodale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. 344 pp., $95.00 hardcover (ISBN-13: 978-0-521-19537-9).
Necessary Evils: Amnesties and the Search for Justice. Edited By Mark Freeman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. 352 pp., $90.00 hardcover (ISBN-13: 978-0-521-89525-5).

The discourse and structures of international justice have expanded rapidly since the early 1990s, when the United Nations Security Council established the ad hoc international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. This expansion is symbolized by the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, while reflecting broader developments including the extension of international law and global governance, the mobilization of transnational human rights movements, and the proliferation of transitional justice mechanisms, such as criminal prosecutions and truth commissions. The books reviewed here convey both the growing interest in the subject of international justice across the social sciences and the changing nature of dilemmas that preoccupy scholars and practitioners in this dynamic field. They represent critical contributions to our theoretical and empirical understanding of international justice in the post-Cold War era and offer insightful analysis of its promise and limits. Writing in the best tradition of “engaged scholarship,” the authors raise critical questions about justice but also seek to propose innovative responses and approaches to help address such questions in the contemporary period.

The books fit squarely within the new scholarship on international justice that has emerged during the past decade, marking a shift from the academic discussions of justice associated with the “third wave” of democratization in Latin America, Southern and Eastern Europe (Huntington 1991). That earlier body of literature in sociology, political science, and law often adopted a state-centric analytical framework and interrogated justice dilemmas in relation to processes of political transformation and constitutional reconstruction in the aftermath of repressive rule and internal conflict (Cohen 1995; Kritz 1995; Osiel 1997; Teitel 2000). By contrast, recent scholarship tends to reflect the pluralization of justice discourse and structures at the current juncture, which can be comprehended only within a globalized framework that takes into account …

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