The Transitional Justice Institute (TJI), established in 2003, has rapidly become internationally recognized as a leading centre in developing the field of transitional justice – broadly, the study of law in societies emerging from conflict. It has placed research emanating from Northern Ireland at the forefront of both local and global academic, legal and policy debates. Ground-breaking research on the ‘war on terror’ and the role of peace agreements, for example, received recognition in 2006 from the American Society of International Law: TJI scholars were awarded the top book and article prize for creative and outstanding contributions to international legal scholarship – an unprecedented achievement for a non-US research unit.
The TJI is dedicated to examining how law and legal institutions assist (or not) the move from conflict to peace. A central assumption of the research agenda of the TJI is that the role of law in situations of transition is different from that in other times. In contrast to commonly held understandings of the law as underpinning order, stability and community, the role of law in transitional situations is a less understood role of assisting in the transition from a situation of conflict to one of ‘peace’ (perhaps better understood as non-violent conflict).
The aims of the Institute are:
• To build a theoretical and practical understanding of the role of 'transitional justice', and the underlying relationship between justice and peace;
• To examine the role of the international and domestic legal systems and institutions in facilitating transition from conflict;
• To make links between the experience of Northern Ireland and international experience, so as to benefit both Northern Ireland and other contexts;
• To inform policy makers involved in peacemaking in local and international institutions; and
• To make visible and critically examine gendered experiences of transition.
The TJI community of researchers is housed in restored 19th century buildings on two campuses – Dalriada House,at Jordanstown and ME Building at Magee . It attracts international scholars and policy makers from all over the world. The TJI has played a key role in taking legal research in Northern Ireland to the centre of international stages. As such is constitutes an important resource for LLM students and PhD researchers.
The Institute is led by Professor Rory O'Connell (Director) and Professor Fionnuala Ni Aolain (Associate Director).
The Transitional Justice Institute is affiliated to the Association of Human Rights Institutes.