Hybrid Justice: Building Resilience After Conflict

Edited by Kirsten Ainley and Mark Kersten

One of the most dramatic shifts in international politics in the last thirty years has been the increase in the use of international or internationalised criminal justice mechanisms in post-conflict states. Such mechanisms are intended not just to provide accountability, but also to underwrite stable and resilient peace. Early mechanisms included criminal tribunals established under the auspices of the UN Security Council for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and ‘hybrid’ criminal mechanisms for East Timor, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Cambodia, Bosnia and Lebanon. These hybrids featured varying combinations of international and domestic staff, operative law, structure, financing and rules of procedure. The establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was expected to make hybrids redundant, but we have seen a recent resurgence of hybrids – in Senegal, Kosovo, Central African Republic and South Sudan; and proposed for Colombia, DRC, Syria, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and ISIS. Yet, because hybrids were thought to be a relic of pre-ICC justice, there has been little academic research on their impact. In addition, there is demand from practitioners currently in the process of establishing hybrids for rigorous comparative work on past tribunals to contribute to our understanding of how to design such institutions to be resilient in themselves and to contribute to resilient societies.

The Call is for articles to be published as a special issue of a leading international law journal, as part of the Hybrid Justice project. Articles will compare and evaluate the internal resilience of hybrids, and their impact on external resilience. Internal resilience is understood as the extent to which the design of hybrid mechanisms enables them to function robustly and with legitimacy in the face of external pressures from donors, host states, actors which oppose the mechanism and other interested parties. External resilience is the extent to which hybrid mechanisms enable post-conflict states and societies to heal, reconcile, strengthen and address the root causes of prior conflict. Indicators of, and pathways to, internal and external resilience are contested in the current literature, and articles in this collection are likely to take different positions on what counts as resilience and the extent to which hybrids exhibit or contribute to it. Abstracts are welcome for articles focused on any of the hybrid mechanisms, but all papers must be comparative in some way rather than focused on a single mechanism.

Abstracts are also welcome for articles considering broader issues such as the reasons for the recent recurrence of hybrids; the relationship of hybrids to other transitional justice mechanisms, including the ICC; and the robustness of the evidence available on the impact of hybrids as a contribution to the wider ‘transitional justice impact’ literature. Authors are likely to come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds.

To ensure a consistent and rigorous collection, all authors will be invited to receive feedback on their work at a workshop in London on 4th and 5th January 2018. Limited funding is available for travel and accommodation.


  • By 30th Sept 2017: abstracts to be submitted to k.a.ainley@lse.ac.uk and mark.s.kersten@gmail.com.
  • By 22nd Dec 2017: full draft papers to be circulated
  • 4-5th Jan 2018: workshop to be held in London
  • End Feb 2018: final copy to be submitted, to be sent to peer review
  • July 2018: publication of Special Issue

 Please circulate this call among your networks, and let us know on k.a.ainley@lse.ac.uk and mark.s.kersten@gmail.com if you have any questions.