5th Intensive Course on Truth Commissions

Date and time: 
Monday, September 30, 2013 (All day) to Friday, October 4, 2013 (All day)
Barcelona, Spain

Truth commissions —official, nonjudicial inquiries into human rights violations— have become a centerpiece of processes of transition to democracy and peacebuilding, after violent conflict. International peacemakers, funders, human rights advocates, and government officials are now routinely involved in truth commissions created around the world.

The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Barcelona International Peace Resource Center (BIPRC) are pleased to announce the 5th Intensive Course on Truth Commissions, focused on a practical approach about the challenges in the design and implementation of a truth commission.


The course will prepare practitioners directly involved in human rights, peacebuilding, rule of law, and transitional justice with the necessary tools to assess the propriety of creating a truth commission in the wake of protracted conflict or dictatorship, and ensuring that the design and implementation of truth commissions are sensitive to contextual realities. The course provides participants with the knowledge required to conceive, implement, and engage with truth commissions, in accordance with the best international practices and principles.


The course will discuss truth-seeking as part of a comprehensive transitional justice approach. Course participants will examine under what conditions truth commissions are usually created. It will explore fundamental questions such as what is the main role that truth commissions can play in societies dealing with a legacy of violence and repression; how to draft an appropriate legal mandate; how can they ensure societal buy-in; how can they make a positive contribution to gender, children and youth, and indigenous peoples rights; and discuss practical and conceptual considerations facing international and national actors. Participants will explore the political and practical challenges around the design, implementation, and considerations that follow the conclusion of a truth commission. The course format includes a combination of lectures, small group discussion, simulations, and an exchange of practical experiences from the participants.

Dates and Location

This course will be held on September 30- October 4, 2013 at the Gran Hotel Rey Don Jaime in Castelldefels, Barcelona - Spain.

Profile of Candidates

The program is targeted at mid-career and senior staff at multilateral agencies, governments, NGOs, foundations, and universities. Practitioners directly involved in countries considering the establishment of truth commissions or similar efforts are especially encouraged to apply.

Language and Registration Fee

This course will be taught in English and a high proficiency level is required to fully benefit from attendance. The course fee is 1300 Euros / US$1,700, payable within 15 business days following acceptance to the course (a letter of acceptance will be posted in the end of July). This fee includes accommodation at a hotel in individual living quarters; all meals, including daily refreshments; and all course materials. It does not include the cost of travelling to Barcelona. Payment arrangement information will be included in acceptance letters. Unfortunately, ICTJ and BIPRC cannot provide any scholarships or waivers for the course fees this year.


The academic coordinator of this course is Eduardo González, Director of the Truth and Memory Program at ICTJ and former staff member at the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Other instructors include former members of truth commissions and transitional justice experts.


Participants will be sent selected reading materials in advance, and receive a comprehensive resource packet for future reference upon completion of the course.


ICTJ and BIPRC do not cover participants’ travel, visa, or insurance costs. We can provide logistical assistance and letters in support of participants' visa applications upon request.

Application Process

Applications will be accepted until August 14th, 2013. To apply for the course, please submit a one-page letter of motivation, Curriculum Vitae, a copy of your passport, one letter of reference, and a completed application form to Ms. Kelen Meregali, course coordinator, at tmcourses@ictj.org. Please see the application form for further details. If you have any questions about the application process please contact Kelen Meregali directly at kmeregali@ictj.org.

About the Barcelona International Peace Resource Center

The Barcelona International Peace Resource Center (BIPRC) is the outcome of an initiative launched by Barcelona City Council to promote the culture of peace through dialogue, awareness-raising, and training in crisis management and conflict resolution. Created in 2009, the BIPRC is the only center of its kind in Spain. Its work is inspired by the philosophy of centers around the world specializing in crisis management and peace operations. The BIPRC's main activity is an international specialized training program designed to meet the extensive learning needs of civilian personnel and to equip them with the skills they need to engage in field operations around the world. More information is available here.