How can a country legally address collective trauma? Northern Ireland faced this daunting question in 1998, when the signing of the Good Friday Agreement heralded the end of decades of sectarian violence known as the Troubles. More than two decades later, the social and economic damage of the Troubles lingers. Years of piecemeal reconciliation efforts have proved controversial and yielded inconsistent results. The "truth" of the Troubles remains a divisive issue, and the question of how Northern Ireland can achieve lasting reconciliation still looms. This Note offers an up-to-date review of transitional justice efforts in Northern Ireland and the ongoing need for a legal remedy. It conducts an in-depth analysis of four legal strategies as applied to post-Troubles Northern Ireland – criminal prosecution, appeals to the European Court of Human Rights, public inquiries, and truth commissions. After evaluating the four strategies in both historical and social context, this Note makes the case that a truth commission, as a flexible and comprehensive transitional justice mechanism, is the legal remedy best suited to address the collective trauma of the Troubles.
Katherine S. Thomas,
Legal Remedies to Collective Trauma in Northern Ireland,
34 Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law
Available at: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/djcil/vol34/iss1/3