Drawing on qualitative data from more than a year of research in the DRC, I argue that while a trans-scalar approach was taken to end violence, it was not applied to transitional justice initiatives. The result was a negative, rather than a positive peace. By showing the high, but still untapped, potential of trans-scalarity, the article makes three contributions. First, it advances the debate on the local turn by adding empirical insights on trans-scalarity and further developing the concept’s theoretical foundations. Second, it provides novel empirical insights on the transitional justice process in the DRC. Third, it links scholarship on peacebuilding and transitional justice, which have often remained disconnected.