The Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) seeks to examine the role of law in transitions from mass violence. The term ‘transitional justice’ has traditionally been understood to encompass the legal, moral and political dilemmas that arise in holding human rights abusers accountable at the end of conflict. However, TJI research goes beyond the question of how to deal with past human rights abuses, to examine more broadly how law and legal institutions assist (or not) the move from violence to peace.
Since its creation in 2003, TJI has become an internationally recognised centre for transitional justice research. The international excellence of its academic research was recognised in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in which TJI was classified as one of the leading law research units in the UK, with the University of Ulster ranking 13th out of 67 law units.
In addition, the innovative research produced by TJI researchers has been awarded several international prizes and has received funding from Atlantic Philanthropies, British Academy, Leverhulme Foundation, Nuffield Foundation, and the Socio-Legal Studies Association. Furthermore, TJI researchers are involved in a range of collaborative research projects with institutions in Europe, Africa and North America, and serve on the editorial boards of several international scholarly journals.
TJI also has an active and enthusiastic group of funded doctoral students working on topics such as civil society involvement in peacebuilding, equality and institutional reforms in transitions, gendered experiences of violence and transition, and the role of transitional justice institutions.
In addition to their scholarly work, TJI researchers actively engage with policymakers and civil society, both within Northern Ireland and internationally.
TJI pursues its research agenda through theoretical and empirical work that seeks to transform and develop the theory and practice of transitional justice. The Institute’s research interests are currently structured around the following four broad research themes: