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Negotiating on Behalf of Previous Generations: Justice in Post-Conflict Contexts

In: International Negotiation
Author:
Valerie Rosoux UCLouvain – ISPOLE Place Montesquieu, 1 L2 0807, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve Belgium

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Abstract

The focal point of this essay is the duration of intractable conflicts. The mere passage of time has no magical effect on conflicting notions of justice. On the contrary, a succession of crises and tensions accentuates entrenched positions concerning historical grievances. First, we present the processes through which parties defend a particular notion of justice on behalf of previous generations as rational games that depend, to a large extent, on parties’ interests. Second, we examine these processes from a moral perspective. Rather than emphasizing strategic dynamics that are based on political interpretations of the past, we focus on ethical quandaries related to the “paradoxical absence” of those who remain at the center of the justice claims. Third, we go beyond rational and moral dimensions to focus on the emotional weight of traumatic events and their long-lasting impacts on victims’ descendants.

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