Transitional justice in Albania : historical burden, weak civil society, and conflicting interests
Title: Transitional justice in Albania : historical burden, weak civil society, and conflicting interests
Citation: Olivera SIMIC and Zala VOLCIC (eds), Transitional justice and civil society in the Balkans, New York : Springer, 2013, Springer Series in Transitional Justice, pp. 105-121
This chapter asks why postcommunist Albania has failed to ensure transitional justice for the abuses committed during one of the harshest communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe. The analysis takes into account alternative explanations of transitional justice processes, including historical legacies, the configuration of political interests, and idea-based accounts. Yet, our proposed framework attempts to link and supplement these existing explanations by incorporating the role of civil society, as a mediator that can screen and shape elite-driven initiatives on the issue. The analysis of Albania suggests that a generally weak civil society, and the very limited number of actors who have engaged with transitional justice has, over the past two decades, allowed for the political exploitation of the issue by self-proclaimed anticommunist actors. As a result, transitional justice has only gained momentum at crucial political moments when it has been seen as politically expedient to interested parties. Political actors have exploited public debates and policy initiatives, moreover, to buttress their power rather than seriously confront the crimes of the past. This has generated a deeply politicized climate but no definite results in terms of transitional justice.
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