The social life of policy reports: Reporting as a tool in the transitional justice battlefield in Rwanda

Astrid Jamar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Adopting a Latourian approach, this article examines the social role played by policy reports, which are produced and used in the everyday implementation of transitional justice, using the Gacaca Courts in Rwanda as a case study. As glossy end products, transitional justice reports create the image of more efficient processes unaffected by difficult politics. The article traces the journey of Gacaca policy reports and the shift from their envisioned role to their actual performed functions: considered as technical safeguards, reports become central tools in the transitional justice battlefield – almost as if reports were used as weapons while arguing about the past and the nature of the transition. Since transitional justice processes mostly culminate in the production of reports which presume to clarify and make accountable complex legacies of violence, such an analysis contributes significantly to addressing the construction of transitional justice narratives critically. Given the ubiquity of reports in aid-dependent policy implementation, this article draws attention to often glossed-over aspects of complex politics and to the contentious role played by international aid organisations. By doing so, the paper encourages discussions about the materiality of international aid and its social consequences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-194
Number of pages29
JournalRevue International des Etudes du Développement
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • transitional justice praxis
  • policy reports
  • politics of aid
  • NGOs
  • donors
  • Rwanda
  • Latour


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