'Transitional justice in Colombia: competing discourses in a peace agreement context' by Tatiana Navarrete Guzmán
Tatiana Navarrete Guzmán is the Jos Mooij Research Paper Award winner for the academic year 2017-2018.
“This Research Paper presents an excellent example of analysis of discourses on a very important concept that is known as Transitional Justice, and their effects on Special Jurisdiction for Peace as a public policy process directed at achieving a durable peace in Colombia. […] The results of the thesis are well founded and offer an important message – that complex policy concepts such as Transitional Justice are severely contested and there is no one overarching interpretation of what it constitutes. Even more importantly, Tatiana found that the interpretation of the government has been privileged in the talks and in the final text of the agreement. […] The analysis is very nuanced, sharp and detailed, with an eye for the unspoken (silent and silenced) and unacknowledged assumptions, and for specific positions (and histories) of the actors that inspire discourses” (as formulated by the evaluation committee consisting of Albert Kraaij, HHS, Farhad Mukhtarov, ISS and Katarzyna Grabska, ISS).
This research paper analysed the transitional justice discourses of the government, its political opposition, the FARC, and the civil society participants in the peace negotiation, and its particular understandings of peace and conflict in the context of the peace negotiation with FARC in Colombia. Based on the study of the competing discourses and how are they reflected in the mechanism to admin transitional justice – Special Jurisdiction of Peace – I argue that the mechanism definition has been part of a bargain between elites looking for the status quo preservation. Thus, the Special Jurisdiction of Peace privileges the governments' discourses, especially of the government in power, while excluding some of the demands from civil society representatives and FARC.
Keywords: transitional justice, Colombian peace agreement, Special Jurisdiction of Peace, discourse analysis.