The transitional justice (TJ) field has gone through phases in which the role of actors and their environments – or structure and agency, more broadly viewed – have been alternatively emphasised. This article privileges agency as the focal point of analysis. The main task is to conceptualise ways in which actors promote, or obstruct, transitional justice. Taking time and context into consideration, we construct a multi-level framework to explore how domestic and international actors operate within local, national and transnational environments. We focus on how diverse actors employ their various capabilities and are affected by values as well as interests when advancing their TJ preferences. Actors simultaneously shape and are shaped by the multi-level environments in which they operate. The framework presented here is designed to enhance knowledge about TJ outcomes. The working assumption is that the type of actors that promote (or obstruct) TJ will significantly influence the type of TJ initiatives adopted and also shape their impact.