Transitional justice for historical injustice

Colleen Murphy, Kelebogile Zvobgo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter explores possibilities for transitional justice for historical injustice, or temporally distant violence. It can also refer to temporally extended abuse. We focus our discussion on two prominent examples of political violence in the past that reverberates into the present: the slavery in the Americas and European colonialism. Descendants of enslaved Africans in the Americas experience structural, state and interpersonal violence and discrimination, and citizens of former European colonies are still paying the price for their land and labour being exploited, as well as being denied self-determination and self-governance. To the extent that transitional justice is concerned with redressing widespread violence and abuse for its own sake, it must be concerned with historical injustice. While there may be few living direct perpetrators and victims, millions are affected by the unaddressed legacies of the transatlantic slave trade, slavery and colonialism, either benefiting or suffering from deprivations causally connected to them.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Transitional Justice
EditorsCheryl Lawther, Luke Moffett
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781802202519
ISBN (Print)9781802202502
StatePublished - Aug 11 2023


  • Historical injustices
  • Racialised violence
  • Slavery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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