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Is it too early to speak about justice in Donbas?

There is no clear post-conflict strategy for Donbas. This is to a significant extent caused by the hybridness of the conflict which effectively prevents the fundamental goal of peace. If peace were to be achieved, however, experience from the field of transitional justice could point to some ways post-conflict justice might progress in Ukraine.

Much has been written about the Donbas conflict since it evolved into a full-fledged war in the summer of 2014. One aspect of the conflict which has been given almost no attention, despite its obvious importance for Ukraine’s long-term development, are reflections on its aftermath. The debate in the West has predominantly focused on highly pragmatic and technical questions like how to stop the violence and move the conflict into the political realm. Ukrainians, on the other hand, are stuck in a black-and-white characterisation of “treason vs victory” in terms of virtually all aspects of the conflict. In the background of both approaches, there seems to be an assumption that the conflict can be resolved rather easily and the situation will return to what existed prior.

This assumption is misguided. Any stable and long-lasting resolution of the conflict should be accepted by all interested parties as just. This implies that such a resolution is yet to be found.
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October 31, 2017 - Gerhard Kemp Igor Lyubashenko - Issue 6 2017Magazine

Photo: ВО «Свобода» (cc) commons.wikimedia.org

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