Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration

Valledupar, Colombia, March 2008. Demobilized AUC paramilitaries create murals as part of the reintegration program. (Ana Patel)

While programs for the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants are not new, they have never been designed or implemented with an explicit awareness of their relationship with transitional justice measures.

But with resolution of conflict now widely seen as inextricably linked with efforts to redeem the claims of justice, there is a clear need to examine the many ways in which DDR programs can contribute to, or hinder, the achievement of justice-related aims.

With this in mind, ICTJ’s Research Unit conducted a multi-year research project examining the relationships between DDR programs and transitional justice measures. It aimed to test the hypothesis that the goals of these two types of initiatives can reinforce each other and break cycles of violence by reestablishing trust and promoting reconciliation between different groups.

The results demonstrate how DDR programs to date have connected (or failed to connect) with transitional justice measures, and allow for an initial articulation of how future programs ought to link with transitional justice aims.

Country Studies

The first phase of research included nine country studies:

Thematic Studies

The project’s second phase focused on a series of thematic studies that built upon the empirical results of the case studies. These were published in an edited volume, Disarming the Past: Transitional Justice and Ex-combatants, edited by Ana Cutter Patel, Pablo de Greiff, and Lars Waldorf. This book is the fourth volume in the Advancing Transitional Justice series co-published by ICTJ and the Social Science Research Council.

The volume includes chapters on:

  • Amnesties
  • Prosecutions
  • Truth-seeking
  • Reparations
  • Female Ex-combatants
  • Child Ex-combatants
  • Local Justice
  • Security Sector Reform

Further Products

In addition, Ana Patel published a chapter entitled "DDR and Transitional Justice" in the book Security and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Dealing with Fighters in the Aftermath of War (Routledge, 2008), and Pablo de Greiff published the chapter "DDR and Reparations: Establishing Links Between Peace and Justice" in Building a Future on Peace and Justice (Springer, 2009).

Most recently, ICTJ worked with the UN DPKO to develop a module for the UN's Integrated DDR Standards on transitional justice, which was published in 2009.