Julie Bernath

Resistance to transitional justice at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia

This dissertation is part of the 2012-2015 SNF research project “Resisting Transitional Justice? Alternative understandings of peace and justice”. This research project focuses on three case studies: Cambodia, Burundi and the Ivory Coast.
This dissertation analyses resistance to transitional justice in Cambodia. The focus is laid on institutionalized forms of transitional justice: the process analysed in Cambodia is the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the hybrid tribunal established in 2004 to deal with the crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge regime.
This dissertation is embedded within critical approaches to transitional justice. In this literature, transitional justice is analysed as a political process of negotiations between different actors; as such, it is necessarily contested. Such approach to transitional justice enables to see resistance to transitional justice not as deviant but as a legitimate object of enquiry. This dissertation will further ask whether this points to alternative understandings of peace and justice.
This PhD will be based on an empirical approach with a strong emphasis on qualitative fieldwork. Interdisciplinary theoretical approaches to resistance will also inform this dissertation.

Supervisor: Laurent Goetschel



Julie Bernath is a PhD Fellow in the Dealing with the Past team. She holds a M.A. in Political Science from the Institut d’Études Politiques of Paris, France (2011) and was an exchange student in Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK. During her studies, Julie worked for Afric@ction, a student association supporting development projects in Niger. She also volunteered for TRIAL Watch and interned at the European Parliament. Before joining swisspeace in July 2012, Julie worked as an intern and consultant in the Public Affairs Section of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).

Memberships: IGS North South