Recognizing Victims as Political Actors: Expanding a More Complex Identity - Vol. 31 Nbr. 1, January 2019 - Revista Desafíos - Books and Journals - VLEX 764317257

Recognizing Victims as Political Actors: Expanding a More Complex Identity

Author:Johannes Langer
Position::Independent researcher based in Hamburg, Germany
Pages:365-371
 
FREE EXCERPT
Desafíos, Bogotá (Colombia), (31-1): 365-371, semestre I de 2019
Recognizing Victims as
Political Actors: Expanding a
More Complex Identity
Johannes langer*
The Politics of Victimhood in Post-Conict Societies: Comparative and
Ana-
lytical
perspectives by Vincent Druliolle and Roddy Brett (Eds.). Pal-
grave Macmillan, 2018.
A central claim of transitional justice is to be victim-centered. The
participation of victims has increased over the years and they are, by
now, considered as protagonists who cannot be ignored any longer in
a peace processes and transitional justice mechanisms in post-conict
societies (Mendez, 2016). And yet, victims continue to be simplistically
portrayed as innocent, pure, lack of responsibility and with a moral
superiority—instead of constructing a “complex victim” (Bouris,
2007). In contested narratives that typically emerge already during
armed conict and continue to play out in post-conict situations,
victimhood is used by the different sides in order to have more ben-
ets on their end. In short, victimhood is not only a moral and legal
issue but is very much political.1
The increasing recognition that there are different forms of victimhood
has been laid out, not least in the 2016 special issue of the International
Journal of Transitional Justice. However, who is a victim in the rst place?
Legal denitions have dominated the eld, typically from the United
Nations and the respective national laws in post-conict countries. But
* Independent researcher based in Hamburg, Germany. E-mail: langerjohannes@gmail.
com
1 For a legal debate about victims, the volume of Bonacker and Safferling (2013) is useful.
Vanfraechem, Pemberton and Ndahinda (2014) have come up with a particularly encom-
passing book about victims and justice with ways forward towards reconciliation.

To continue reading

REQUEST YOUR TRIAL