Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor's Name

Tatiana Kostadinova

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Barry Levitt

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Markus Thiel

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Harry Rhea

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Elvira Maria Restrepo

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


transitional justice, rule of law, post-conflict justice

Date of Defense



Little is known about the effects of transitional justice on the development of the rule of law in post-conflict states. There are assumptions in the literature that the prosecution of those responsible for human rights violations or convening a truth commission will help improve the rule of law. Using a mixed-method approach, which combined statistical analysis with in-country fieldwork, this investigation found that the impact of transitional justice, particularly trials, on the development of the rule of law is minimal and not automatic. In each of the four states examined, Colombia, Peru, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, meaningful effects from transitional justice were blocked by powerful post-conflict inhibiters, including a lack of state capacity, ethnicity and corruption. These findings indicate that prior assumptions about the relationship between transitional justice and the rule of law are overstated, and they point to the need for policymakers to simultaneously address these and other inhibiters while implementing transitional mechanisms.





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