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Thousands took to the streets across Kenya on January 27 following the gruesome slaying of more than a dozen women to denounce violence against women and demand action to end it. Protesters later gathered in Nairobi on February 14 for a Valentine’s Day vigil for the more than 30 women murdered in the country so far this year and to pressure the government to declare femicide and violence against women a national emergency and to establish a commission to address these crimes and thereby break the cycle of impunity. These efforts are laudable, if not inspiring. However, physical and sexual violence against women and femicide—at times perpetrated by law enforcement officers who are meant to protect them, as enshrined in Kenya’s 2010 Constitution—has persisted in Kenya for decades.

ICTJ’s partner Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization (AHRDO) recently opened a new virtual museum and database dedicated to Afghan victims of conflict and human rights abuses. “The Afghanistan Memory House” not only preserves the memory of these victims but helps pave the path for truth and justice. To launch the virtual museum, ICTJ and AHRDO cohosted a panel discussion on memorialization, moderated BBC journalist Lyse Doucet, in ICTJ’s office in New York this past December.

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.

In 2021, the Central African Republic created the Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission (CVJRR) to establish the truth, pursue justice, and restore victims’ dignity, with a view to ultimately achieving national reconciliation. In this fragile country, battered by successive episodes of violence, justice, in its broadest sense, has always been and remains a lifelong demand of victims. After a lengthy operationalization phase, the CVJRR is now finally getting ready to start registering and hearing victims’ testimonies. The first step in this process is statement taking, which requires taking several key factors into account to be successful.

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 October 25, the African Union (AU) and European Union officially launched their joint Initiative for Transitional Justice in Africa (ITJA) in Addis Ababa. The project will take place over a three-year period and will promote national transitional justice processes in Africa, in line with the AU Transitional Justice Policy and its roadmap. The ITJA has several unique features that, if embraced and advanced by all actors, have the potential to trailblaze a new and inspiring path to peace, justice, and sustainable development on the African continent.
ICTJ and the Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organizations cohosted a national event to increase victims’ and civil society’s meaningful participation in Ethiopia’s transitional justice process. The event brought together Ethiopian government officials and policymakers, civil society representatives, members of the media, and international stakeholders to discuss strategies to ensure victims and gender-related concerns remain at the center of the efforts underway in the country to deal with recent and past violence and its consequences.

The African Union and the European Union have officially launched a three-year project to support AU member states as they incorporate the African Union Transitional Justice Policy and undertake transitional justice processes at the national level. The project, named the Initiative for Transitional Justice in Africa, will be implemented by a consortium of three organizations led by the International Center for Transitional Justice, the African Transitional Justice Legacy Fund, and the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.

More than 20 years after the end of the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, Kosovo is still contending with unresolved ethnic tensions. Formerly an autonomous region of Serbia within the former Yugoslavia, Kosovo declared independence in 2008. Ethnic tensions were a root cause of the violent conflicts, during which an estimated 140,000 died and numerous atrocities were committed. ICTJ recently sat down with ICTJ's Anna Myriam Roccatello and Kelli Muddell to learn more about ICTJ's work and the present challenges to truth and justice in the country.

On June 29, 2023, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution creating a new independent institution on the missing in the Syria Arab Republic. Eighty-three member states voted in favor, 11 voted against, and 62 abstained. ICTJ welcomes the resolution, which represents a momentary reprieve in Syria’s otherwise bleak justice landscape. This vote represents a critical step forward in supporting all those who seek answers about the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones and who suffer daily from the indignities and grave hardships that ensue when a loved one goes missing.