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Restorative justice in the aftermath of politically-motivated violence: the Basque experience

Zernova, Margarita


Dr Margarita Zernova
Lecturer in Criminology and Programme Director for MA in Criminal Justice and Crime Control


An emerging body of literature discusses how restorative justice can contribute to the response to terrorism. This paper expresses concerns about the uncritical acceptance of many orthodox assumptions about terrorism inherent in the search for a ‘restorative response’ to terrorism. When restorative justice embraces the label ‘terrorism’ in what appears to be a politically neutral sense, rather than opening up a critical discussion of realities of political violence and the factors that had propelled it, it may form part of the efforts designed to inculcate ‘truths’ that help control political dissent. With its key aspiration being to restore a presumed healthy order disrupted by terrorist offences, restorative justice may be enlisted to help entrench social relations that led to the violence in the first place. The paper illustrates this danger by examining attempts to use restorative justice techniques by Spanish authorities in the aftermath of ETA or Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (‘Basque Homeland and Freedom’) violence. It is argued that rather than searching for a ‘restorative response’ to terrorism, a more adequate framework for restorative justice in the aftermath of politically motivated violence may be found within broader projects of reparation for historical injustices, remembering and political reconciliation.

Journal Article Type Article
Print ISSN 1753-9153
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Zernova, M. (in press). Restorative justice in the aftermath of politically-motivated violence: the Basque experience. Critical studies on terrorism,
Keywords ETA prisoners; Restorative justice; Reparation for historical injustices
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