Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



A restorative justice paradigm emphasizes healing relationships between offenders, their victims, and the community in which the offense took place. It rejects retribution as a response to crime, focusing instead on the needs of all parties involved. This Note discusses the necessity for, and possible benefits of, using restorative justice principles when responding to international crimes and conflicts. Prosecution, war, and other violent means remain the most common responses to crime and conflict today. Such retributive reactions often lead to further violence rather than healing and peace. Using restorative justice principles to address crime and conflict, as was done in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, has proven that focusing on healing can end cycles of violence. In order to promote an end to international conflict and violence, therefore, countries unable to create their own truth commissions should have the opportunity to respond to conflict through restorative means by way of a permanent international truth commission.