Between Cooperation and Confrontation: International Diplomacy and Transitional Justice in Post-war Sri Lanka : A Lecture by Gerrit Kurtz


Transition processes after a civil war are periods of high fragility and contestation. Pressure from domestic civil society and multilateral institutions may lead to transitional justice and institutional reforms. Transformative change of the power structures that enabled organized violence in the first place faces contestation and resistance in a polarized environment. Striking a new political settlement between the different communities, and between them and the state requires strong leadership. International diplomacy in such a situation faces dilemmas of its own. External pressure may lead governments to adopt reform measures. At the same time, international influence is easily politicized by the opposition. Diplomats and UN officials need to balance pressure, encouragement, and assistance in order to support a sustainable peace. The talk will discuss the challenges, practices, and approaches of international diplomacy for transitional justice in the context of Sri Lankas transition process since 2015.
Gerrit Kurtz is a third-year PhD candidate at the Department of War Studies, Kings College London. His research focuses on the frontline diplomacy of conflict prevention in state-society conflicts, with post-independence South Sudan and post-war Sri Lanka as case studies. He is a non-resident fellow of the Global Public Policy Institute, an independent Berlin-based think tank, where he worked as a research associate for almost three years before starting his PhD. He is a member of the research school on peace and conflict hosted by the Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO). Gerrit has published academic articles and policy pieces on, inter alia, atrocity prevention in US foreign policy, the end of the war in Sri Lanka, protection of civilians in UN peacekeeping operations, and human rights reform efforts in the United Nations.

Event Flyr (PDF)


Monday, March 26, 2018 at 4:30pm
ICES Auditorium, 2, Kynsey Terrace, Colombo 8