Armed conflicts continue to have devastating effects on the lives of millions of people throughout the world. The failure to hold perpetrators of human rights violations and war crimes accountable contributes to a culture of impunity, which further perpetuates civil war and violence. Efforts to support victims and hold perpetrators accountable when conflict is over, mechanisms known as transitional justice, have been well studied, however, similar mechanisms addressing injustices during conflict are less understood. Even in the midst of violence, governments use trials, truth commissions, reparations, amnesties, purges, and exiles to tackle the conflict. We suggest that such during conflict justice fundamentally affects both the dynamics of conflict, as well as future transitional justice mechanisms post-conflict.
The "All is fair in law and war" project uses multiple methods to analyze the consequences of during-conflict justice (DCJ). We use statistical data on DCJ in all internal armed conflicts between 1946 and 2017 to examine the relationships between justice and violence, and the likelihood of ceasefires, negotiations, and peace agreements as the conflict unfolds. We also explore the impact of DCJ on post-conflict violence, transitional justice and the long-term effects on rule of law. To better understand why and how these relationships evolve we will do fieldwork in Colombia, Nepal, and Uganda.
We are interested in students who would like to explore the causes and consequences of during-conflict justice using our statistical data. In particular, MA theses examining different aspects of amnesties (general amnesties, amnesties as part of peace agreements, prisoners' releases, conditional amnesties, etc.) or the history of particular DCJ mechanisms in specific countries (e.g. amnesties in the Philippines) are of interest. We also encourage students interested in the project, but with other research questions and/or methodological approaches to apply.