Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)

The Peacemakers Paradox: Pursuing Justice in the Shadow of Conflict

A lecture in the AISSR Conflict, Security & Peacebuilding Speaker Series by Priscilla Hayner, Member, UN Standby Team of Senior Mediation Advisors

09May2018 17:00 - 18:30


Expanding from her path-breaking work in Unspeakable Truths, Priscilla Hayner focuses on a new challenge in The Peacemaker’s Paradox: the age-old problem of negotiating peace after a war of atrocities.

Drawing on her first-hand involvement in peace processes and interviews from the frontlines of peace talks, the author recounts many heretofore-untold stories of how justice has been negotiated, with great difficulty, and what this tells us for the future. Those with the most power to stop a war are the least likely to submit to justice for their crimes, but the demand for justice only grows louder.

She also asks how the intervention of an international tribunal, such as the International Criminal Court, changes how a war is fought and the possibility of brokering peace. 

The Peacemaker’s Paradox looks far and wide, from Gaddafi’s Libya to the FARC talks in Colombia, to provide an unparalleled exploration of these thorniest of issues.

About the lecturer

Priscilla Hayner has worked in the field of transitional justice for twenty-five years, the last ten years focused on the challenge of justice in contexts of peace negotiations. She co-founded the International Center for Transitional Justice in 2001, working as program director and head of its Geneva office.

Her first book, Unspeakable Truths: Transitional Justice and the Challenge of Truth Commissions, helped to define that field. She has served as human rights advisor in a number of peace negotiations, from Kenya in 2008 to the recent talks in Colombia.

In 2017 she was appointed to the United Nations Standby Team of Senior Mediation Advisors. She is based in New York City.

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