Decolonizing Transitional Justice: Soft, Radical or Beyond Reform

M. Brinton Lykes, Colleen Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


This article examines the limitations of transitional justice in addressing global violence and violations, such as environmental disasters, authoritarian threats, armed conflicts, and violence against marginalized communities. It explores different approaches to reforming transitional justice, including soft and radical reforms, but suggests that these may not fully meet the aspirations of local communities. The article calls for a decolonization of transitional justice, moving beyond reform to embrace a pluriverse of multiple worldviews and practices. It emphasizes the importance of recognizing the integral relationship between land, body, and territory, learning from Indigenous knowledge and experiences, and adopting a decolonial approach that respects the perspectives and rights of Indigenous communities. The text also discusses strategies for truth-telling and justice, including decentralized truth initiatives, the establishment of a National Resting Place for Indigenous remains, and the use of art to challenge dominant narratives. Ultimately, the article highlights the importance of embracing diverse ways of being, knowing, and doing in order to work towards a more just and ecologically wise world.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-369
Number of pages9
JournalThe International Journal of Transitional Justice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • Violence against women
  • Transitional justice
  • Genocide
  • Decolonization
  • Mental health services
  • Truth commissions
  • Indigenous Australians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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