Transitional Justice and Its Discontents: Socioeconomic Justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Limits of International Intervention

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The incorporation of socioeconomic concerns into transitional justice has traditionally, as a result of prevailing liberal notions about dealing with the past, been both conceptually and practically difficult. This article demonstrates and accounts for these difficulties through the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country which has been characterized by a complex transition process and a far-reaching international intervention, encompassing transitional justice and peacebuilding as well as political and economic reforms. Examining the limits of international intervention in Bosnia and the marginalization of socioeconomic justice issues, the article analyses the events surrounding the protests that broke out in February 2014, and the ensuing international engagement with the protest movement. Faced with a broad-based civic movement calling for socioeconomic justice, the international community struggled to understand its claims as justice issues, framing them instead as problems to be tackled through reforms aimed at completing Bosnia’s transition towards a market economy. The operation of peacebuilding and transitional justice within the limits of neoliberal transformation is thus instrumental in explaining how and why socioeconomic justice issues become marginalized, as well as accounting for the expression of popular discontent where justice becomes an object of contestation and external intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-381
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Intervention and Statebuilding
Issue number3
Early online date18 Jul 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jul 2016

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