Theme Panel: Reconstructing Legitimacy: Approaches to Post-Conflict Reconciliation

Reconstructing Legitimacy: Approaches to Post-Conflict Reconciliation

In the wake of conflict, genocide and human rights abuses, states and their citizens must decide how to address the crimes of the past and rebuild political and civic legitimacy. The states examined in this panel have employed highly varied methods for moving on after conflict and consequently offer a wide-ranging look at why governments select specific reconciliation strategies over others and the extent to which these efforts are accepted as legitimate. Dr. Jessica Mecellem’s paper focuses on the narrative that the Algerian government has constructed about the Algerian civil war. Drawing on primary sources published in multiple languages, she analyzes how the Algerian regime has attempted to cement its political legitimacy by adopting increasingly lenient attitudes towards wartime perpetrators. By using content analysis to document the Algerian government’s progression from imprisoning perpetrators to amnestying perpetrators and, ultimately, disregarding the rule of law, Dr. Mecellem provides insight into how undemocratic regimes seek legitimacy by gradually replacing legal post-conflict reconciliation tactics with illegal ones.

Milada Anna Vachudova, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Chair)
Jelena Subotic, Georgia State University (Discussant)

Limited Contrition: Explaining Systematic Variation in Reparations Payments
Claire Greenstein, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Author)

German-Israeli Relations and the Statute of Limitations for Nazi Crimes
Hubert Leber, Philipps University of Marburg (Germany) / University of Haifa (Israel) (Author)

Misfortune or Injustice? The Political Work of Algeria’s Post Conflict Narrative
Jessica Mecellem, Loyola University Chicago (Author)

Reparations in International Relations: Evolving Function, Mechanisms and Venues
Kathy L. Powers, University of New Mexico (Author)