Tine Destrooper

junior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2016/2017
discipline Law
discipline Social Sciences
Scholar in Residence, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, School of Law, New York University

Research project

Transitional Justice and the Scope for Social and Economic Justice in Post-Conflict Societies


Transitional justice is the full range of processes and mechanisms associated with a society’s attempt to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses, in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation. The question of how these transitional justice processes can engender lasting social and economic justice in societies emerging from protracted periods of violent conflict has been on the agenda of scholars and practitioners since the first international interventions in post-conflict societies took place.


Increasingly acclaimed commentators are arguing that, if these interventions want to have a lasting impact, they should pay more attention to economic and social justice in general, and to economic and social rights (ESR) in particular. However, the question about how the systematic integration of ESR into transitional justice processes could contribute to a deeply rooted social justice in practice has remained largely unaddressed.


My research will simultaneously address these two concerns–What is the place of ESR in transitional justice? And how can transitional justice interventions aspire to have a long-term effect? –by turning to the role of civil society organizations (CSO).


The following questions will guide my research:

(i) How can transitional justice processes create momentum for subsequent civil society activism for social justice?
(ii) In those transitional justice mechanisms where there was systematic victim participation, how did this participation shape subsequent CSO activism for social justice?
(iii) Is activists' understanding of social justice shaped by the current bias of TJ interventions towards CPR? Put differently, could the promotion of a more comprehensive understanding of economic and social justice during the TJ process (i.e. one that includes both CPR and ESR concerns) inspire a more robust and encompassing kind of social activism?
(iv) What is the effect of these emerging understandings of social justice on the prospect for long-term locally-carried social justice and regional stability?


As such, the proposed research deals with the extent to which transitional justice's failure to engage with socio-economic forms of mass harm causation affects the extent to which social movements might do the same, and how this may eventually affect the potential for social justice. To answer these questions, I will examine the complex interaction between transitional justice, participatory approaches, and mobilization for societal justice in the case of the Extraordinary Chambers of the Court of Cambodia (ECCC).




Tine Destrooper is Scholar in Residence at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU’s School of Law. She holds a Ph.D in Social and Political Sciences from the European University Institute. Her research focuses on the local relevance of human rights and on the ways in which social movements can use human rights discourses as a mobilizing tool. She conducted fieldwork in Central America, the DRC and India, and worked on several research projects in the EU.


Selected publications


'Linking Discourse and Practice. The Human Rights-Based Approach to Development in the Village Assaini Program in the Kongo Central', Human Rights Quarterly, vol. 38, no. 3, 2016, pp. 787-813.


'Responsive Planning in Development Interventions: Consulting Rights-Holders in the Kongo Central', Development in Practice, vol. 26, no. 3, 2016, pp. 334-345.


'Indigenous Feminist Activism in Guatemala. Defending Women’s Human Rights in the Vernacular', Research in social movements, conflicts and change, vol. 40, 2016, pp. 87-119.


'Reconciling Discourses on Women’s Rights. Learning from Guatemalan Indigenous Women’s Groups', Journal of Human Rights in Practice, vol. 7, no. 3, 2015, pp. 223-245.


Come Hell or High Water. Feminism and the Legacy of Armed Conflict in Central America, Brill, Leiden, 2014.



junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2014/2015
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
discipline Cultural Studies
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2013/2014
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
discipline Sociology
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2016/2017
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
discipline Music
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2011/2012
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
discipline Biology