To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.
Drawing upon the work of John Braithwaite, this article examines the role of ex-combatants in developing community based restorative justice as part of the broader conflict resolution process in Northern Ireland. The article examines the interplay between human rights and restorative justice standards of practice, contests over legitimacy and the role of community based restorative justice programmes as a counterweight to ‘top down’ state formalism in justice delivery. The paper argues that Braithwaite’s personal contribution as well as his scholarship has been a central influence in the ‘respectablisation’ of these ex-combatant led projects.
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.
... In a similar vein in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kiyala (2019) has argued that restorative justice is the appropriate framework to address both the reintegrative processes required to address the needs of former child soldiers, but also efforts to encourage some degree of reconciliation between such individuals and the victims and communities harmed by their past actions. Finally, with colleagues, McEvoy has written extensively about the role of ex-combatants in establishing and managing community based restorative justice in Northern Ireland as an alternative to paramilitary punishment violence and as a bridge between previously estranged communities and the criminal justice system, particularly the police (McEvoy and Mika 2002;McEvoy and Albert 2021). ...
This article examines the role of Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs) and their former members in delivering reparations to victims and communities affected by past acts of violence. The article draws from extensive interviews with former members of armed groups, victims and communities affected by violence in Colombia, Guatemala, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Peru and Uganda. Grounded in the theory and practice of restorative justice, this article critiques the legalistic and state-centric analysis which often characterizes the field of reparations and makes four interconnected arguments. First, that NSAG engagement in reparations can offer a unique practical contribution to meeting the needs of victims (including truth recovery, the recovery of disappeared bodies, de-mining etc.) but also represent a powerful symbolic effort to restore the human dignity of victims and a commitment to prevent violence from recurring. Second, that by taking ‘active responsibility’ through reparations work for past violence, NSAGs and ex-combatants can themselves become involved in processes of delabelling and destigmatization, finding routes to demonstrate their own humanity, and in some cases, becoming involved in work that resonates with the political ideology that motivated them to engage in political violence in the first place. Third, that NSAG reparations can play a significant role in societal and political transformation in post conflict societies, with ex-combatants themselves being key drivers for change through such reparative work. The article concludes by arguing that NSAG and ex-combatant reparative work can represent a self-conscious effort to ‘change the script’, transforming relationships previously defined by violence and harm to ones designed to improve the lives of victims, ex-combatants themselves and the societies in which they live.
This paper traces the impact of Irish political prisoners on the prison landscape in Ireland, north and south, over the past 100 years. For the post-1969 period in Northern Ireland, it explores three different styles of prison management: reactive containment, criminalisation and managerialism. It also examines the ways in which political prisoners sought to resist, including through strategic use of law, dirty protests and hunger-strikes, escapes and the use of violence. The paper then discusses the early release of prisoners under the Good Friday Agreement and the role that ex-prisoners have played in the peace process. It concludes with some reflections on the ongoing tensions between the state and dissident republican prisoners, asking what lessons (if any) can be gleaned from the past 100 years.
The Crowned Harp provides a detailed analysis of policing in Northern Ireland. Tracing its history from 1922, Ellison and Smyth portray the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) as an organisation burdened by its past as a colonial police force. They analyse its perceived close relationship with unionism and why, for many nationalists, the RUC embodied the problem of the legitimacy of Northern Ireland, arguing that decisions made on the organisation, composition and ideology of policing in the early years of the state had consequences which went beyond the everyday practice of policing. The authors provide an extended discussion of policing after the outbreak of civil unrest in 1969, ask why policing was cast in a paramilitary mould, and look at the use of special constabularies and the way in which the police dealt with social unrest which threatened to break down sectarian divisions. Examining the reorganisations of the RUC in the 1970s and 1980s, Ellison and Smyth focus on the various structural, legal and ideological components, the professionalisation of the force and the development of a coherent, if contradictory, ideology. The analysis of the RUC during this period sheds light on the problematic nature of using the police as a counter insurgency force in a divided society. Perceptions of the police, and the opinions of rank and file members are examined and an assessment is made of the various alternative models of policing, such as community policing and local control. This book offers important lessons about the nature of policing in divided societies
The question of legitimacy has become an increasingly important topic in criminological analysis in recent years, especially in relation to policing and to prisons. There is substantial empirical evidence to show the importance of legitimacy in achieving law-abiding behavior and cooperation from citizens and prisoners, especially through what has been described as procedural justice (that is, quality of decisionmaking procedures and fairness in the way citizens are personally treated by law enforcement officials). Yet the dual and interactive character of legitimacy, which necessarily involves both power-holders and audiences, has been largely neglected. This situation has arisen because criminologists have not fully explored the political science literature on legitimacy; hence adequate theorization has lagged behind empirical evidence. The principal aim of this Article is therefore theoretical: we aim to advance the conceptual understanding of legitimacy in the contexts of policing and prisons, drawing on insights from wider social science literatures, but applying them to criminal justice contexts. A central contention is that legitimacy is dialogic, involving claims to legitimacy by power-holders and responses by audiences. We conclude by exploring some broad implications of our analysis for future empirical studies of legitimacy in criminal justice contexts.
Transitional justice has an expectation management problem. International law imposes a right to justice and an obligation to defeat impunity from crimes against humanity. Yet there has not been a war where a substantial proportion of criminals against humanity have been convicted. Nor is one likely. The theoretical solution considered in this paper is to broaden, deepen, and lengthen our conception of justice so that more survivors might be vindicated by some kind of justice, even if a partial kind of justice. We broaden justice with a more holistic, yet multidimensional conception of what justice means, so that, for example, restorative justice, Islamic justice and indigenous justice can be embraced among many alternatives to impunity. Deepening justice means deeper survivor and citizen opportunities to shape a more responsive justice and to shape remedies through participation. Lengthening justice means giving less priority to speedy trial and closure as transitional justice values. It might mean a permanent Truth and Reconciliation Commission that keeps its doors open to victims decades on.
geing and Social Exclusion among Former Politically Motivated Prisoners in Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland investigated the well being and social and economic inclusion of loyalist and republican former prisoners (aged 50 and over) as older people in Northern Ireland. The report will be launched at Parliament Buildings at Stormont this afternoon.
The research was led by Ms Ruth Jamieson and Dr Peter Shirlow at Queen's School of Law, along with Dr Adrian Grounds of the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge.
Researchers surveyed 190 former prisoners (117 republican, 26 of whom were women, and 73 loyalist), aged 50 and over, and conducted in-depth interviews with 25 of them (15 republican, three of whom were women, and 10 loyalist), in Belfast during 2008-09. The aim of the study was to investigate their wellbeing and social and economic inclusion as older people in Northern Ireland.
Drawing upon criminological studies in the field of prisoner rehabilitation, this essay explores the relevance of the Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) framework to the process of conflict transformation in Northern Ireland. In a similar fashion to the critique of `passivity' offered by, for example, the `strengths based' or `good lives' approach to prisoner resettlement and reintegration more generally, the authors contend that the Northern Ireland peace process offers conspicuous examples of former prisoners and combatants as agents and indeed leaders in the process of conflict transformation. They draw out three broad styles of leadership which have emerged amongst ex-combatants over the course of the Northern Ireland transition from conflict— political, military and communal. They suggest that cumulatively such leadership speaks to the potential of ex-prisoners and ex-combatants as moral agents in conflict transformation around which peacemaking can be constructed rather than as obstacles which must be `managed' out of existence.
During the most recent three decades of conflict in Northern Ireland, the limitations of the Royal Ulster Constabulary's (RUC) policing of local working class communities has seen the parallel evolution of violent paramilitary systems of ‘punishment attacks’ and banishments. This paper explores the factors which underpin such punishments. It considers their relationship to the formal justice system and offers a critical analysis of the potential for Restorative Justice theory and practice to provide non‐violent community based alternatives to such violent punishments.
The IRA's training manual, the Green Book, stresses the importance of preparing their sympathetic audiences for impending attacks through propaganda campaigns that vilify the intended target and otherwise support the moral legitimacy of the action. Such “defensive propaganda” creates the conditions under which a population with normal moral values can either support or be apathetic toward terrorist actions. Or drawing on terminology introduced by Albert Bandura, the strategy facilitates the community's moral disengagement from an inherently immoral action and in doing so protects the popular support upon which the republican movement relies for its military and political existence. This article examines the IRA's use of defensive propaganda against members of their sympathetic community and introduces a conceptual overview of the structure of such campaigns.
Three types of restorative justice standards are articulated: limiting, maximizing, and enabling standards. They are developed as multidimensional criteria for evaluating restorative justice programmes. A way of summarizing the long list of standards is that they define ways of securing the republican freedom (dominion) of citizens through repair, transformation, empowerment with others and limiting the exercise of power over others. A defence of the list is also articulated in terms of values that can be found in consensus UN Human Rights agreements and from what we know empirically about what citizens seek from restorative justice. Ultimately, such top‐down lists motivated by UN instruments or the ruminations of intellectuals are only important for supplying a provisional, revisable agenda for bottom‐up deliberation on restorative justice standards appropriate to distinctively local anxieties about injustice. A method is outlined for moving bottom‐up from standards citizens settle for evaluating their local programme to aggregating these into national and international standards.
This article examines the development of community‐based restorative justice in the context of the Northern Ireland peace process. In tandem with the political changes introduced as a result of the Good Friday Agreement, and the reforms of policing and the criminal justice system which occurred as a result of that accord, this article charts the parallel attempts to use community‐based restorative justice programmes as alternatives to paramilitary punishment violence. In analysing the controversy surrounding such projects, the authors argue that the traditional critiques of informal justice have been revisited and revitalized in the ongoing political struggles involving restorative justice in the jurisdiction. These critiques are: the supposedly sinister nature of community‐based restorative justice, the idealization of ‘community’ in such projects as essentially consensual and harmonious, the critique of such projects as a technical and evaluative failure and finally the claim that such projects are impossible. The authors argue that the Northern Ireland experience suggests grounds for a rejection of the cynicism of ‘nothing works’ and argue that the transition to peace lays down moral imperatives including the search for justice practice that ameliorates the violence of the past.
While a considerable amount of research has been conducted on community based initiatives aimed at preventing violence, including the role of the ex-political prisoner community in preventative and counter terrorism work, little is known about how the ex-prisoners themselves manage their identity transition between the role they occupied during the conflict and their current role in violence prevention. We argue that it is important to consider the perspective of ex-prisoners who are both architects of their own process of desistance from political violence, as well active leaders of bespoke desistance programmes. While many researchers have recognised the utility of the role of ex-prisoners in violence prevention work, theoretically, the way in which ex-prisoner do violence prevention through their use of language and intergroup contact and other resources, is poorly understood. Ultimately, the aim of the paper is two-fold: to understand the resources (discursive or otherwise) that the community of ex-political prisoners use in their preventative work and (2) to understand how this community understand their role in desistance programmes in the context of their personal involvement in violent conflict, including the ways in which participants manage their identity transition.
Following a bloody civil war, peace consolidated slowly and sequentially in Bougainville. That sequence was of both a top-down architecture of credible commitment in a formal peace process and layer upon layer of bottom-up reconciliation. Reconciliation was based on indigenous traditions of peacemaking. It also drew on Christian traditions of reconciliation, on training in restorative justice principles and on innovation in womens’ peacebuilding. Peacekeepers opened safe spaces for reconciliation, but it was locals who shaped and owned the peace. There is much to learn from this distinctively indigenous peace architecture. It is a far cry from the norms of a ‘liberal peace’ or a ‘realist peace’. The authors describe it as a hybrid ‘restorative peace’ in which ‘mothers of the land’ and then male combatants linked arms in creative ways. A danger to Bougainville’s peace is weakness of international commitment to honour the result of a forthcoming independence referendum that is one central plank of the peace deal.
This book provides an account and analysis of policing in Northern Ireland, providing an account and analysis of the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) from the start of ‘the troubles’ in the 1960s to the early 1990s, through the uneasy peace that followed the 1994 paramilitary ceasefires (1994-1998), and then its transformation into the Police Service of Northern Ireland following the 1999 Patten Report. A major concern is with the reform process, and the way that the RUC has faced and sought to remedy a situation where it faced a chronic legitimacy deficit.
This article explores the process of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) in Northern Ireland. In particular, it examines the role and experiences of former combatants, who were incarcerated during the Troubles. It is shown that upon release from prison, many of these former combatants have played key roles in the development of community-based initiatives, which have not only facilitated the reintegration of former prisoners, but have also contributed to a broader process of post-conflict regeneration and social development. The author considers the notion of expanding the ‘R’ phase of DDR, and contends that additional attention needs to be paid to both to the specific needs of former combatants/former prisoners and to their involvement in the overall process of reintegration and peacebuilding.
AB - This article explores the process of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) in Northern Ireland. In particular, it examines the role and experiences of former combatants, who were incarcerated during the Troubles. It is shown that upon release from prison, many of these former combatants have played key roles in the development of community-based initiatives, which have not only facilitated the reintegration of former prisoners, but have also contributed to a broader process of post-conflict regeneration and social development. The author considers the notion of expanding the ‘R’ phase of DDR, and contends that additional attention needs to be paid to both to the specific needs of former combatants/former prisoners and to their involvement in the overall process of reintegration and peacebuilding.
This book provides a unique account of the high-profile community-based restorative justice projects in the Republican and Loyalist communities that have emerged with the ending of the conflict in Northern Ireland. Unprecedented new partnerships between Republican communities and the Police Service of Northern Ireland have developed, and former IRA and UVF combatants and political ex prisoners have been amongst those involved. Community restorative justice projects have been central to these groundbreaking changes, acting as both facilitator and transformer.
Based on an extensive range of interviews with key players in this process, many of them former combatants, and unique access to the different community projects this books tells a fascinating story. At the same time this book explores the wider implications for restorative justice internationally, highlighting the important lessons for partnerships between police and community in other jurisdictions, particularly in the high-crime alienated neighbourhoods which exist in most western societies, as well as transitional ones. It also offers a critical analysis of the roles of both community and state and the tensions around the ownership of justice, and a critical, unromanticized assessment of the role of restorative justice in the community.
This article suggests that opportunities exist to harness the potential of history and citizenship education with the processes of transition in developing programmes, which support young people in exploring conflict and the challenges associated with attending to its legacy. Drawing on the experience of Northern Ireland, it is suggested that the narratives of those who have been involved directly as both combatants in conflict and latterly as agents of change in their communities provide unique opportunities for young people to reflect on these issues. By way of illustration, an account of one such initiative is presented: From Prison to Peace: Learning From the Experience of Political Ex-Prisoners; a structured programme which invites young people to engage directly with loyalist and republican ex-combatants in the Northern Ireland conflict. The article suggests that such programmes have the potential to assist young people in exploring the complexity of conflict and the intricacies of transition. Furthermore, it is suggested that the relationships which exist between these ex-combatants arguably can challenge sectarian perspectives and foster capacity for ‘political generosity’ towards those with opposing political aspirations.
The British government has a fraught relationship with former combatants in Northern Ireland. It simultaneously benefits from former combatants’ peace‐building efforts, whilst being reluctant to grant them statutory recognition and funding. Drawing on interviews and focus groups with politically motivated former loyalist combatants and statutory representatives in Belfast, this paper explores the complex and sometimes contradictory relationship between them. It argues that a lack of legitimacy is the biggest obstacle to good working relationships, and that positive engagement may be crucial in order to promote the implementation of peace in the most difficult to reach and volatile constituencies in Northern Ireland.
‘It is much easier to extirpate than to amend Mankind.’
Sir William Blackstone
Five stages in the history of regulation are derived from the literature as a starting framework for this essay. These stages are outlined in the first section. This five-stage model is then confronted and revised in light of the neglected case of the Australian penal colony. It is juxtaposed throughout the paper with the history of the regulation of crime in the US. Australian convict society is found to be brutal yet forgiving. We conclude that surprisingly high levels of procedural justice and reintegration in Australian convict society drive down crime rates at a remarkable rate in the nineteenth century. In contrast American slave society is characterised by procedural injustice, exclusion and stigmatisation, which delivers high crime rates. Following Heimer and Staffen's theory, reintegration and procedural fairness are found to arise in conditions where the powerful are dependent on the deviant. Acute labour shortage is the basis of a reintegrative assignment system for Australian convicts to work in the free community. While convicts change Australia in very Australian ways, we find that many of these developments are not uniquely Australian and so a revision of the five-phase model is proposed. The revision also implies that Foucault's distinction between governing the body versus governing the soul (corporal/capital punishment versus the penitentiary) is less central than exclusion versus inclusion (banishment versus restorative justice) to understanding all stages of the history of regulation.
In this set of three essays, originally presented as the 2005 Hamlyn Lectures, Conor Gearty considers whether human rights can survive the challenges of the war on terror, the revival of political religion, and the steady erosion of the world's natural resources. He also looks deeper than this to consider the fundamental question: How can we tell what human rights are? In his first essay, Gearty asks how the idea of human rights needs to be made to work in our age of relativism, uncertainty and anxiety. In the second, he assesses how the idea of human rights has coped with its incorporation in legal form in the UK Human Rights Act, arguing that the record is much better and more democratic than many human rights enthusiasts allow. In his final essay, Gearty confronts the challenges that may destroy the language of human rights for the generations that follow us.
Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined communities. London: Verso.
Designing a restorative justice system in Northern Ireland
Auld, J., Gormally, B., McEvoy, K. & Ritchie, M. (1997). Designing a restorative
justice system in Northern Ireland, 'The blue book'. Belfast: The Authors.
Restorative Justice and Social Justice
Saskat Law Rev
Braithwaite, J. (2000). Restorative Justice and Social Justice. Saskatchewan Law
Review. 63(1), 185-194. (Reprinted in E. McLaughlin, R. Fergusson, G. Hughes
and L. Westmorland (eds) (2003) Restorative Justice: Critical Issues. London:
Legitimacy and criminal justice: international perspectives
Braithwaite, J. (2007). Building legitimacy through restorative justice. In T. Tyler
(ed.), Legitimacy and criminal justice: international perspectives (pp. 146-162).
New York: Russell Sage.
Connecting philosophy and practice
Braithwaite, J. & Strang, H. (2000). Connecting philosophy and practice. In H. Strang
& J. Braithwaite (eds.), Restorative justice: from philosophy to practice (pp.
203-220). Aldershot: Dartmouth.
Adult and youth re-offending in Northern Ireland
Department Of Justice
Department of Justice (2018). Adult and youth re-offending in Northern Ireland
(2015/16 Cohort). Research and Statistics Bulletin 27/108. Belfast: DoJ.
Conversion from war to peace: reintegration of ex-prisoners in Northern Ireland
Gormally, B. (2001). Conversion from war to peace: reintegration of ex-prisoners in
Northern Ireland. Bonn: Bonn International Centre for Conversion.
Conflict to peace: politics and society in Northern Ireland over half a century
Hayes, B. & McAllister, I. (2013). Conflict to peace: politics and society in Northern
Ireland over half a century. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Third report of the justice oversight commissioner
Justice Oversight Commissioner (JOC) (2005). Third report of the justice oversight
commissioner. Belfast: JOC.
Reintegration of ex-combatants after conflict
Kilroy, W. (2015). Reintegration of ex-combatants after conflict. London: Palgrave.
Keynote address. European Forum of Restorative Justice Conference
McEvoy, K. (2014). Keynote address. European Forum of Restorative Justice
Conference, June 2014, Belfast.
Conflict, crime control and the 're'-construction of state-community relations in Northern Ireland
McEvoy, K., Gormally, B. & Mika, H. (2002). Conflict, crime control and the 're'-construction of state-community relations in Northern Ireland. In G. Hughes, E.
Community based restorative justice in Northern Ireland: an evaluation
Mika, H. (2006). Community based restorative justice in Northern Ireland: an
evaluation. Belfast: Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Queens
Great hatred, little room: making peace in Northern Ireland
Powell, J. (2008). Great hatred, little room: making peace in Northern Ireland.
Beyond the wire: ex-prisoners and conflict transformation in Northern Ireland
Shirlow, P. & McEvoy, K. (2008). Beyond the wire: ex-prisoners and conflict
transformation in Northern Ireland. London: Pluto.
From armed struggle to political struggle: republican tradition and transformation in Northern Ireland
Spencer, G. (2015). From armed struggle to political struggle: republican tradition
and transformation in Northern Ireland. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.