This paper seeks to trouble and complicate core assumptions about transitional justice and archives and to critically examine the relationship between them. Records about conflict and dictatorship are like records in general never only a reflection of realities, but they constitute these realities. Following Harris’ plea to find ‘exigencies’ to the transitional justice paradigm it suggests the term transitional archives to highlight the multi-layered afterlife of human rights records. It thereby emphasises the open-ended nature, ‘the in-becoming’, of transitional archives. It argues that by including critical archival studies in our thinking of transitional justice and a violent past, we can push beyond the dominant discourse of healing, closure and reconciliation, and open up space to investigate not only how the past but also transitional justice itself is produced at the intersection of power, memory, narrative and violence.