Searching for a Just Peace in Darfur: Exposure to Violence and Reconciliation

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The Ohio State University

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Sociological research has studied the implementation and effects of transitional justice mechanisms on societies recovering from mass atrocities like genocide, but little is known about the attitudes of victims before the transitional justice mechanisms are implemented. This article analyzes over 1,500 interviews from Darfuri genocide victims living in refugee camps in eastern Chad to assess the relationship between their exposure to violence and their punitive attitudes towards perpetrators. I find that respondents with both familial and/or personal exposures to violence have higher odds of favoring the death penalty for Sudanese government officials and army commanders but that they have lower odds of choosing the same fate for Sudanese government soldiers. The respondents’ age, gender, voting history, knowledge of international response to the conflict, and personal opinions on the possibility of living peacefully with former enemies are also consequential. I conclude by discussing the role personal connections and military conscription could play in the relationship as well as the overall importance of incorporating victims’ attitudes into post-conflict transitional justice decisions.


2nd Place at the 2015 Denman Undergraduate Research Forum in Social and Behavioral Sciences
Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Scholarship
Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Grant
Criminal Justice Research Center Graduate Study Grant


genocide, Darfur, reconciliation, punitive attitudes, sociology, transitional justice