Living Together with Law After Violent Conflict: Truth Commissions, Peacebuilding and Technologies of International Jurisdiction


PhD Confirmation Seminar
Melbourne Law School
Thursday 21 June 2018
1:00pm - 1:30pm
Room 608, Level 6

About the seminar

The thesis aims to understand the relationship between truth commissions and law, and how this relationship informs the problem of ‘living together with law after violent conflict’. Truth commissions are generally understood as ‘non-judicial’ or ‘quasi-legal’ devices. Against this, the thesis follows the intuition that truth commissions have a distinct legal form, which shapes what ‘living together’ might entail. The guiding research questions are two-fold: 1) what are the legal forms of the truth commissions; and 2) how do those legal forms, and practices shape the ways of ‘living together’.

Part 1 gives an account of the legal forms deployed and developed in truth commissions by drawing on jurisprudence related to historical, prudential and aesthetic consideration of form. Part 2 examines how the practices of truth commissions shape forms of living together with law after violent conflict. The analysis focuses on four truth commissions: Uganda (1974), Argentina (1983), Chile (1990), and El Salvador (1992). Paying close attention to these truth commissions, the thesis contributes a new way of understanding the legal form and legal practices of truth commissions, and their relationship to shaping how societies live together after violent conflict.

About the presenter

Valeria’s research is concerned with representations of law and justice in communities that continue to experience the effects of colonisation and violent conflict.  Her research interests build on her personal and professional experiences in the non-profit sector in Spain and the Basque Country, El Salvador, and South Africa. Prior to commencing doctoral studies, Valeria was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town (South Africa), where she conducted research and analysis on national reconciliation processes and political transitions in Iraq and South Africa. Before that she served with Amnesty International in the Basque Country as coordinator of the policy advocacy team with responsibility for implementing Amnesty’s political incidence campaigns at the institutional level.

Valeria Vázquez Guevara is a Ph.D. candidate in Law at Melbourne Law School, and a member of the Institute for International Law and the Humanities. She holds an M.A. in Peace Studies from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame (USA), an M.A. in Sociology of Law from the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (Spain), and an LL.B. from the University of Granada Law School (Spain).