Charting Uncharted Waters: Participatory Budgeting as a Novel Transitional Justice Guarantee of Non?Recurrence of the Conflict in Colombia?

Dajer Barguil, Diana Centre for Socio‐Legal Studies. University of Oxford


After fifty years of war, Colombia is about to start the implementation of an ambitious peace deal between the Government and the FARC-EP guerrilla. The final Peace Agreement between the partiessurpasstransitional justice measures implemented before, to embrace guarantees of non-recurrence that are non-usual suspects in the transitional justice scenario. One of these instruments is participatory budgeting.Yet, although the Peace Agreement regards participatory budgeting as a guarantee of non-recurrence, the national and international transitional justice theory has no previous conceptualization of participatory budgeting as a transitional justice mechanism. In this scenario, the paper explores and discussesthe theorization of participatory as a transitional justice mechanism in Colombia. To do so, the article places participatory budgeting in a wider theoretical debate regarding transitional justice, to lay the foundations for a further systematic analysis of empirical data. The chapter is based on a review of the literature on transitional justice, democratic innovation, participatory budgeting, and citizen participation. Overall, the studies suggest that more research is needed to understand the nuances of citizen participation and the role of technology in changing institutional environments in post-conflict scenarios, and that the label “guarantee of non-recurrence” requires more conceptual elucidation.Furthermore, the paper identifies four strands in the transitional justice literature that should be weighed in more detail with an evidence-based research, to explore the conceptualization of participatory budgeting under a transitional justice lens: (i) the inclusion of participatory approaches to transitional justice studies; (ii) the relationship between transitional justice and economic, social and cultural rights; (iii) the links between transitional justice and development; and (iv) the theorization of the guarantees of non-recurrence.