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On February 13, 2024, the interactive cultural exhibit “If There Is Truth, There Is Future” opened to the public at Bogotá’s Center for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation. As part of the Colombian Truth Commission’s post-closure cultural and educational outreach activities, the exhibit aims to inform Colombians of all generations about the commission’s findings and inspire them to take action to prevent a recurrence of conflict.

On November 28, 2023, ICTJ organized an international dialogue in Bogotá, Colombia, to share innovative strategies for advancing victims’ rights to redress for human rights abuses and for establishing more victim-centered development policies. The gathering also marked the official launch of ICTJ’s new report—Advancing Victims’ Rights and Rebuilding Just Communities Local Strategies for Achieving Reparation as a Part of Sustainable Development—which presents findings from a two-year comparative study of local efforts in Colombia, The Gambia, Tunisia, and Uganda to advance reparations.

Throughout 2023, ICTJ’s experts have offered their unique perspective on breaking news around the globe as part of the World Report. Their insightful commentaries have brought into focus the impact these events have on victims of human right violations as well as larger struggles for peace and justice. In this edition, we look back on the past year through the Expert’s Choice column.

On November 28, ICTJ hosted an international conference to explore the synergies between reparations and sustainable development in Bogotá, Colombia. The event, titled “Advancing Victims’ Rights and Rebuilding Just Communities: An International Dialogue on Reparations and Sustainable Development,” brought together ICTJ partners from The Gambia, Tunisia, and Uganda along with civil society and government representatives from Colombia to discuss local strategies for advancing reparations for human rights abuses and how repairing victims and affected communities can contribute to local and national development. On the occasion, ICTJ also launched a new research report on the topic.

The study of macro-criminality is critically important to transitional justice and specifically to efforts to pursue accountability for large-scale, systematic human rights violations. To help enliven debates concerning macro-criminality and broaden access to them, ICTJ has translated into Spanish for the first time ever the seminal essay "Can Politics Be Criminalized?" written by German criminologist Herbert Jäger.

In societies grappling with conflict or repression, LGBTQ+ individuals are often targeted with violence and discrimination and experience some of the cruelest human rights violations. In 2022, Colombia Diversa began collaborating with members of ASFADDES, a prominent association of relatives of the missing or disappeared in Colombia. In June, 24 representatives from the two organizations met in Bogotá to for a series of workshops in which they exchanged knowledge and best practices and developed a better understanding of how to search for missing or disappeared LGBTQ+ persons.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the hip hop movement. To honor its contributions to the struggle for justice, truth, and equality, the Skoll Foundation hosted a panel discussion and concert event featuring hip hop artists, including cofounder of the legendary rap group Run-DMC Darryl McDaniels and Colombian rapper and producer Ali aka Mind, as part of its 20th World Forum held in April in Oxford, United Kingdom. ICTJ, which received the Skoll Award for Social Innovation in 2009 and has partnered with the Skoll Foundation since, invited Ali aka Mind as a representative of Rexistencia Hip Hop, an artistic mentorship and creation lab led by ICTJ’s office in Colombia and the Latin American media outlet and foundation Cartel Urbano.

Colombia’s new president Gustavo Petro was elected to office on a progressive campaign to strengthen democracy, implement social reforms, and bring “total peace” to the country. His approach to peace encompasses political negotiations with all remaining insurgent groups and simultaneous dialogues with criminal organizations geared toward their voluntary submission to justice in exchange for punitive leniency. But eight months into his administration, Petro’s efforts to deliver on his campaign promise are facing numerous challenges.

The end of 2022 in Venezuela was marked by signs of willingness from all parties to take concrete steps toward democracy. The government and the opposition resumed negotiations and agreed to allow the United Nations to manage a fund for billions of dollars of frozen assets, which would be gradually released to address the country’s humanitarian crisis. The United States authorized the Chevron Corporation to resume limited operations for importing Venezuelan oil. Finally, the 2015 National Assembly voted to end the opposition-led interim government. While these steps are initial ones to create the conditions for trust among the parties, they offer opportunities to improve the dire circumstances in which many Venezuelans currently live.

In a fast-changing world, ICTJ regularly reexamines and adapts its methodology to develop innovative solutions to emerging problems, advance its mission, and achieve justice for victims of human rights violations. In that spirit, ICTJ recently launched an exciting new website and newsletter design. After over a year of research, planning, surveying stakeholders, designing, and testing, we unveiled a site that better aligns with what ICTJ and transitional justice are today.