Transitions towards democracy and more generally the dynamics of European integration have encouraged and accelerated these reforms as much in the new Member States (Piana 2010; Delpeuch 2006; Hammerslev 2011; Coman 2009; Parau 2011), as in the Balkan countries (Dallara & Marceta 2010) and in the post-Soviet region (Gazier & Hamant, 2007). A mosaic of research has progressively emerged, focused on the creation and role of institutions, notably constitutional courts (Febbrajo & Sadruski 2010) and judicial councils (Piana et Pederzolli 2010), the renewal of codes and laws concerning judicial organisation; the circulation of norms (Ajani 1995; Hammerslev 2011), the administration of Justice, its managerialisation, its independence, its efficiency, its relations with the political power and the media. Analysing various facets of these processes, researchers have been able to highlight the conjunction of exogenous and endogenous factors in general and in particular the role of actors (national and supranational), of structures, of norms, interests and ideas. As such, these contributions pinpoint not only the amplitude of changes, but also their problematic aspects and the paradoxes of their implementation (Galligan & Kurkchiayn 2003).

The judicial reforms initiated in this part of the continent no longer constitute a “terra incognita” for researchers and experts. Nevertheless, for many observers, these reforms still remain a « puzzle to reconstruct » (Mendelski 2012, p. 24) and pose a new series of questions (Seibert-Fohr 2011). Thus, recent developments in this area ask for a renewal of the initial research agenda. If the first waves of reform were oriented by international organisations, more recent reforms have been promoted by national actors. Moreover, recent works have highlighted the limitations of the European conditionality and the importance of internal dynamics, in former candidate states as much as in the countries considered for the new wave of enlargement. The more systematic criticism of the functioning of the judicial institutions gives rise to new tensions between political and judicial actors (Bodnar 2010; Fleck 2010). This trend is observed not only in Romania and Bulgaria, where judicial reforms remain controversial (Delpeuch, 2007 ; Hammerslev 2007 ; Scholnfelder, 2005 ; Ganev 2003 ; Coman 2009 ; Parau 2011), but also in Poland (Bodnar 2010), in the Czech Republic, in Hungary (Fleck 2011), and in the Baltic states. The functioning of judicial institutions awaken many passions and emotions; they fuel new claims for reform, ever more frequently, both in Western and Eastern Europe (Vauchez &

Wiillemez, 2007) and (often) attract criticism from international organisations as well as from the EU.

How to explain these recent «reformative imperatives» promoted by national political actors? Who diffuses them and how? Which discourse accompanies these needs of reform? What are the strategic uses of Justice? How does this tension translate in the independence of Justice on the one hand and political legitimacy on the other? What is the role played by European and international actors after the 2004 enlargement?

This special issue aims to examine two aspects of these complex processes:

- the first section will collect contributions examining the problematisation of the new wave of judicial reforms by national actors (political, social, judicial)
- the second section will be devoted to a comparative and longitudinal analysis. It aims to research the evolution of European and international conditionality in the matter, as well as the effectiveness and limitations of the mechanisms conceived at the international level to encourage and direct these reforms. The objective is to unite original contributions which explore the lesson learned by the international actors and the redefinition of their public political mechanisms concerning judicial reforms.

This special issue has the ambition to offer a platform for dialogue and exchange between political scientists, sociologist, anthropologists, and European studies and international relations specialists. It privileges a comparative approach towards judicial reforms, without excluding case studies which deepen less explored paths in the literature.

Proposed contributions (title, name, institutional affiliation, one page summary and bibliography) should be sent to before 15 June 2013.

Selected articles must be submitted by 1 October 2013.

About the journal


Transitions, the journal published since 1995 by the Institute for Sociology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the European Institute of the Université de Genève, has come to an end today. Almost twenty years have passed since its creation. During these two decades, the paradigm of “transition” has been thoroughly used for analyzing the profound transformations that have occurred in former communist countries after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Many studies have highlighted the complexities of the on-going transitions, as well as the challenges posed by the need for researchers to work in "real time" institutional, economic, social, political and identity turmoil. Moving beyond stereotypes, Transitions has contributed to the development of a reflexive literature on the challenges of on-going change.

Replacing Transitions, the name of this new Journal Connexe already elucidates its ambitions: to connect associated disciplines and research objectives, to merge interconnected fields, to capture simultaneously the deviant and the common, the singular and the whole, the present and the future, the regional and the transnational. The journal is primarily interested in the large geographical area encompassing the old “popular democracies” and the former republics of the Soviet Union, beyond Russia also including countries from the Caucasus and Central-Asia.

The journal welcomes articles from the fields of political science, history, sociology, economics, cultural studies, literary studies and the arts. Promoting high quality standards for its articles, the journal addressed issues related to the transformation of post-communist space, from a perspective that connects the past to the present. Finally, even if the journal emphasizes the internal debates that take place, fuelled by the theoretical consideration that have marked history and the social sciences the last decades, it also hosts research that goes beyond national perspectives and studies the post-communist countries in their relations, interactions and connections with other cultural areas.

The journal will appear in two issues each year. The principal language will be French, but English articles may also be submitted. The texts will be submitted to a double evaluation, according to the norms and standards of an academic volume. In addition to issues devoted to specific topics or more general issues, the journal will also publish book reviews and other accounts/Varia.


The editorial team

Assistant Editor: Marc Bellet, Global Studies Institute / Institut d’Etudes Globales, University of Geneva, rue Jean-Daniel Colladon 2, CH-1204 Genève

Executive Committee

Korine Amacher (Geneva), Eric Aunoble (Geneva), Valentina Calzolari (Geneva), Aurélie Campana (Laval), Vicken Cheterian (Geneva), Ramona Coman (Brussels), Julien Danero (Brussels), Thierry Delpeuch (Cachan), Magdalena Dembinska (Montreal), Paul Gradvohl (Warsaw), Xavier Hallez (Paris), Sophie Hohmann (Paris), Ruxandra Ivan (Bucharest), Anne Le Huérou (Paris), Pieter Lagrou (Brussels), Aude Merlin (Brussels), Sergiu Miscoiu (Cluj), Annick Morard (Geneva), Petru Negura (Chisinau), Cédric Pellen (Brussels), Antoine Roger (Bordeaux), François Ruegg (Fribourg), Silvia Serrano (Paris), Carole Sigman (Moscow), Jean-Michel De Waele (Brussels)

Scientific Committee

Wladimir Berelowitch (Paris), Rogers Brubaker (Los Angeles), Aldo Ferrari (Venice), Raymond Kevorkian (Paris), Nikolai Kopossov (Atlanta), Sandrine Kott (Geneva), Marlène Laruelle (Washington), Jacques Lévesque (Montreal), Alexei Levinson (Moscow), Nicolas Levrat (Geneva), André Liebich (Geneva), Vera Miltchina (Moscow), Marina Mogilner (Kazan), Leonardo Morlino (Rome), Claire Mouradian (Paris), Georges Nivat (Geneva), Anna Paczesniak (Wroclaw), Krzysztof Pomian (Paris), Andriy Portnov (Berlin), Jean Radvanyi (Paris), Jacques Rupnik (Paris), James R. Russell (Cambridge, MA), Marina Sorokina (Moscow), Anne Tinguy (Paris), Antony Todorov (Sofia).