This paper contributes to the literature that analyses application of restorative justice in transitional societies. It examines recent attempts to employ restorative justice in the Basque peace process following ETA’s ceasefire. Using the Basque experience, it discusses some of the hidden dangers and tensions which arise when attempts are made to utilize ‘traditional’ restorative justice approaches and assumptions underlying them in transitional settings. One of the initiatives under discussion used a well-established restorative justice method of mediation between individual victims and offenders and attempted to transplant it without alteration from the context of ‘ordinary’ crime to the context of ‘political’ crime. It is argued that the scale and complexity of the conflict that looms behind individual offences in question renders certain assumptions and practices of ‘traditional’ restorative justice questionable both ethically and politically. Several other initiatives that have emerged recently in the Basque peace process are discussed which do not take the ‘classic’ form of restorative justice, yet values underpinning them fit well with the restorative justice philosophy. They might suggest a more promising direction for the development of restorative justice in the aftermath of mass violence.
Zernova, M. (2017). Restorative justice in the Basque peace process: some experiments and their lessons. Contemporary Justice Review, 20(3), 363-391. https://doi.org/10.1080/10282580.2017.1348899