What happens to Justice when a state is in democratic transition (that is to say, moving from a regime that was percieved as commiting atrocities against its own people or violating its citizens' human rights in some way - Taiwan and the "228" incident, Poland and the whole issue of "lustration", South Africa, etc.)? The TRC in South Africa, for example, went for restorative justice, while in other cases many opt for a retributive justice. While the former hopes to "heal" the community there is a sense in which the guilty go free; whereas the latter punsih the guilty many see this as causing further divisions. Is there any other option for justly dealing with such transition?
For myself, I see no third option and I think the trade-off between retribution and restoration to be a difficult one. It is likelly that both forms of justice should play a role in transitional situations. But it's also likely that the contingent features of a particular situation--the differences iin history, culture, the nature and extent of prior injustice, etc.--will effect the balance between the two. My own assessment of the experiments tried so far suggest that the greater a culture's capacity to achieve some sense of restoration the more promising the prospects for the establishment of a just society in the future. If that's true, then the objective should be to maximize restoration and minimize retribution.