Determinants of former combatants’ attitudes toward transitional justice


The transitional justice literature has made important advances in understanding the determinants of transitional justice and citizens’ views of this form of justice. However, the attitudes of former combatants toward policies aimed at addressing human rights violations have received less attention. This article draws on original survey data of Colombian ex-paramilitaries. Ex-paramilitaries vary significantly in their attitudes toward their victims’ status and rights and their participation in the armed conflict. To explain variation in their support for transitional justice, I analyze individual, group and context- level variables relating to the ex-combatants’ conflict and reintegration experiences. The data suggest that the post-war relationships between the ex-combatants and the communities in which they reside prove highly influential in accounting for individual attitudes toward transitional justice. The extent of collective culpability and of socialization into armed groups’ norms of violence also has leverage in explaining variation in victimizers’ attitudes. The study has implications for the current peace process with the FARC and prospects for transitional justice and an end to violence in Colombia.

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