This contribution reflects upon the nexus between transitional justice and peacebuilding through a study of how transitional justice practices in post-Qadhafi Libya interacted with broader efforts to establish governance institutions in the aftermath of Libya’s 2011 armed conflict. It argues that dominant practices of transitional justice, promoted by external actors, prescribed narrow state-centric justice interventions that were ill-suited for a polity in which the state was highly contested. In fact, transitional justice proved divisive in Libya because attempts to project state-centric liberal justice practices were limited by their targeting of weak institutions that lacked local legitimacy and their inability to reconcile alternative normative frameworks that challenge the modern state. In addition, the weakness of Libya’s state institutions allowed thuwwar, or revolutionary armed groups, to dictate an exclusionary form of justice known as political isolation. Drawn from fieldwork conducted in Libya, this contribution provides lessons for both peacebuilding and transitional justice practice that call for a rethinking of teleological notions of transition and greater engagement with notions and concepts that fall outside dominant practices.