It is now fashionable in academic and activist circles to speak of transitional justice in normative, inflexible terms that suggest a utopian certainty. Nothing could be further from the truth. At the outset, we need to understand that transitional justice concepts are experimental – good experiments to be sure – but that they do not offer us tested panacea because they are essentially works in progress. This is not meant to diminish the utility of the concepts or to throw cold water on them as a beachhead for recovering societies with a legacy of traumatic conflict. Rather, it is to recognize their limitation so that we do not stampede to the temple only to find it empty of the goddess of truth. What is more useful for us to do is to imagine transitional notions as one incomplete vehicle through which we can understand and start the recovery of a tormented society. If we keep this perspective, then we are more likely to achieve a more realistic result.