The Time Is Now: A Discussion on Transitional Justice in the United States

Date and time: 
Monday, April 26, 2021 - 15:00 to 16:30

The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), the American Society of International Law, and the Anti-Black Racism Initiative at the University of Maryland cordially invite you to a panel discussion for the launch of ICTJ’s briefing paper, The Color of Justice: Transitional Justice and the Legacy of Slavery and Racism in the United States.

Almost one year after the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor set off protests around the country and the world, calls for a reckoning with the legacy of racial injustice—starting with the genocide of Native Americans and enslavement of African Americans—are gaining momentum in the US. At the federal level, for the first time, racial justice is one of the top four priorities of the new administration. H.R. 40 and H.Con.Res. 19 have a growing number of co-sponsors, and companion bills have been introduced in the Senate. Several states and cities across the country have launched truth-seeking and reparations initiatives, including Maryland and Evanston, IL.

As stakeholders in the US prepare to embark on this journey and design transitional justice processes—initiatives that seek truth, justice, reparations, and reforms—the experiences of other countries can offer useful lessons on how to address root causes, end systemic abuses, and redress harms. 

Join ICTJ, together with Congresswoman Barbara Lee and the Brookings Institution’s Dr. Andre Perry and Dr. Rashawn Ray, for a discussion on the growing demand for racial justice and how to make the most of this window of opportunity to dismantle systemic racism in the US, provide reparations, and advance reforms.

Featuring Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13)

Congresswoman Barbara Lee is a forceful and progressive voice in Congress, dedicated to social and economic justice, international peace, and civil and human rights.

First elected in 1998 to represent California’s 9th Congressional District, the Democratic lawmaker has a reputation for principled and independent stands, unafraid to take on the tough issues and speak her mind for her constituents, for a more just America, and for a safer world. A social worker by profession, she has been a life-long advocate for constituents, families and others accessing government services.

Congresswoman Lee has been a strong proponent of safe communities, addressing hunger, environmental justice, universal health care, just immigration policies, the establishment of a living wage, reproductive health care rights and affordable housing, including creation of a National Housing Trust Fund.

Her accomplishments include authoring or co-authoring every major piece of legislation dealing with global HIV/AIDS issues since she was elected to Congress.

After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the congresswoman was the lone vote against a resolution that gave the President virtually unlimited authority to use force against unspecified organizations, individuals or nations for an unlimited period of time. She has consistently fought to stop endless wars and to reduce conditions that produce conflict and injustice.

Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chair of the subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering and Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. As a member of the House Democratic Leadership, she is the highest ranking African American woman in the U.S. Congress.


Rashawn Ray, Ph.D. Rubenstein Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution

Dr. Rashawn Ray, a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution, is Professor of Sociology and Executive Director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research (LASSR) at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also one of the co-editors of Contexts Magazine: Sociology for the Public. Formerly, Ray was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ray’s research addresses the mechanisms that manufacture and maintain racial and social inequality with a particular focus on police-civilian relations and men’s treatment of women. His work also speaks to ways that inequality may be attenuated through racial uplift activism and social policy. Ray has published over 50 books, articles, and book chapters, and nearly 20 op-eds. Recently, Ray published the book How Families Matter: Simply Complicated Intersections of Race, Gender, and Work (with Pamela Braboy Jackson) and another edition of Race and Ethnic Relations in the 21st Century: History, Theory, Institutions, and Policy, which has been adopted nearly 40 times in college courses.

Ray has written for the New York TimesNewsweek,  Huffington Post, and NBC News. Selected as 40 Under 40 Prince George's County and awarded the 2016 UMD Research Communicator Award, Ray has appeared on C-SPAN, MSNBC, HLN, Al Jazeera, NPR, and Fox News. His research has been cited by the Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, ESPN, Vox, The Root, and The Chronicle. Previously, Ray served on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington Planning Committee and the Commission on Racial Justice with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Andre Perry, Ph.D. Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Studies Program, Brookings Institution

Andre M. Perry is a Senior Fellow with the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, a scholar-in-residence at American University, and a columnist for the Hechinger Report. Perry is the author of the new book “Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities,” which is currently available wherever books are sold. A nationally known and respected commentator on race, structural inequality, and education, Perry is a regular contributor to MSNBC and has been published by The New York Times, The Nation, The Washington Post, and Perry has also made appearances on CNN, PBS, National Public Radio, NBC, and ABC. Perry’s research focuses on race and structural inequality, education, and economic inclusion.

Prior to his work at Brookings, Perry has been a founding dean, professor, award-winning journalist, and activist in the field of education. In 2015, Perry served on Louisiana Governor-elect John Bel Edwards’ K-12 education transition committee, as well as on New Orleans Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu’s transition team as its co-chair for education in 2010. In 2013, Perry founded the College of Urban Education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Preceding his stint in Michigan, Perry was an associate professor of educational leadership at the University of New Orleans and served as CEO of the Capital One-University of New Orleans Charter Network. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Perry earned his Ph.D. in education policy and leadership from the University of Maryland College Park.

Virginie Ladisch, Senior Expert, ICTJ

Virginie Ladisch is a senior expert in truth seeking and civic engagement at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). She currently leads ICTJ’s work in the United States and Australia, as well as the Children and Youth program. She has provided guidance and technical expertise to a wide range of transitional justice approaches across the globe, including in Canada, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Liberia, The Gambia, Kenya, Nepal, Tunisia, and Uganda. Across all her work, Ladisch focuses on how engaging citizens—particularly youth—in transitional justice processes can serve to catalyze broader public debate and ongoing civic activism. Committed to listening to survivors and problem solving with them to advance effective responses, Ladisch seeks to open spaces for more inclusive participation in policy and programming discussions.

Prior to joining ICTJ, Ladisch was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for independent research, during which she carried out extensive fieldwork on truth commissions and reconciliation in South Africa and Guatemala.  Her work has been published in the International Journal of Transitional Justice,  the Journal of Public and International Affairs, the Cyprus Review, and the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth. Virginie Ladisch holds an M.A. in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University and a B.A. in Political Science from Haverford College.

Moderator: Anna Myriam Roccatello, Deputy Executive Director, ICTJ

Anna Myriam Roccatello is the Deputy Executive Director and Director of Programs of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and currently oversees all of ICTJ’s global and country programs. With over 25 years of international experience in rule of law, human rights and transitional justice, she joined ICTJ in 2013 after working for the United Nations for over 15 years. Prior to joining ICTJ, she worked at the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations for seven years, where she gained considerable international experience in criminal prosecution, mutual legal assistance, judicial reforms and strengthening judicial institutions. She served in Kosovo in the UNMIK Department of Justice, where she contributed to the mission’s rule of law work, and in Afghanistan as part of a capacity building program for judicial personnel. She subsequently served as a Senior Policy Officer at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons focusing on States Parties’ compliance to, and accountability for, their international obligations, and later as the Senior Legal Adviser of the United Nations Office for West Africa, overseeing the operations of the Nigeria-Cameroon Mixed Commission. Ms. Roccatello is an Italian lawyer who qualified and practiced both in Italy and in the UK. She obtained law degrees from the University of Strasbourg, France in 1991 and the University of Turin, Italy in 1994. She completed her Ph.D. studies in European Law at the University of Milan in 1997. She has been a visiting professor of Transitional Justice at the Bicocca University of Milan since 2014.

Introductory Remarks: Fernando Travesí​, Executive Director, ICTJ

Fernando Travesí is the Executive Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). He has over 20 years of international experience in transitional justice, human rights, and rule of law, working for both international organizations and NGOs. Prior to joining ICTJ in 2014, he was the Director of the UNDP Transitional Justice Basket Fund in Colombia. He also served as UNDP Senior Justice Advisor in Tunisia after the Jasmine Revolution. In Nepal and Colombia, Travesí held regional responsibilities with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to protect civilian populations affected by the armed conflict, including documenting violations of international humanitarian law, detention visits and managing the dossier of missing and disappeared. He also worked in Sierra Leone, as Country Director of the Spanish Red Cross, where he led Red Cross’ projects on rehabilitation of child combatants and children affected by the war. Prior to that, he worked for the NGO Movimiento por la Paz, as Regional Director for the Balkans leading a cross-border program on access to justice for refugees, displaced people, and returnees and as Country Director in Albania during the Kosovo war.  
Mr. Travesí is a Lawyer who also completed post-graduate specialized courses in international public law and practiced in Spain mostly on criminal, immigration and civil issues. He also holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution and negotiation from the University Pontificia Javeriana of Colombia that awarded him with the Annual University Honor Medal for Academic Merits. He is a recognized novelist and playwright, winning awards such as the Spanish National Prize of Theater.

Register for this event here.