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This past month, the United States officially observed Juneteenth for the fourth time since President Joe Biden declared it a federal holiday in 2021. Commemorations are a chance to acknowledge past milestones and reflect on their relevance to the present. In the spirit of Juneteenth, it is important to highlight and celebrate the wins and progress made toward fulfilling the promise of liberty for all.

In February 2024, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights hosted an event in Seoul, South Korea, marking the 10th anniversary of the release of the report of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. ICTJ Senior Expert Ruben Carranza spoke at the event and discussed lessons learned involving nonjudicial forms of accountability. In this interview, he talks about why a broader approach to transitional justice is necessary and how transitional justice measures can help promote peace and possible reunification on the peninsula.

On June 5 and 6, 2024, the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) hosted the fourth edition of the AU-EU Experts’ Seminar on Transitional Justice in Brussels, Belgium. The consortium implementing the Initiative for Transitional Justice in Africa, led by ICTJ, helped organize the event. The seminar explored how transitional processes can transform individual lives, societal relations, and dysfunctional state institutions.

Thirty years after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, painful memories of those gruesome 100 days, during which almost one million Rwandan citizens lost their lives, still haunt the people of Rwanda, the rest of Africa, and the world. It is a solemn occasion to remember and honor the victims and survivors of the genocide and to acknowledge the tremendous strength and resilience they have shown in the wake of unspeakable tragedy. However, it is also a time for candid introspection on the African continent, and around the world, about the policies and mechanisms in place to prevent such atrocities.

In the aftermath of armed conflict or repression, communities often struggle to rebuild social relations that have been damaged or destroyed by violence and abuse. Restorative justice can potentially play a valuable role in such societies, bringing together the people who have been harmed by crimes and the individuals responsible for those harms, often in the form of a dialogue, to address the offense and its consequences. A new ICTJ research report offers insight and guidance on the use of a restorative justice framework in responding to massive and grave human rights violations, drawing primarily from experiences in Colombia, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, and the Philippines’ Bangsamoro region.

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 February 29, 2024, The Gambia-Economic Community of West African States Joint Technical Committee held its inaugural meeting on the establishment of a hybrid court to hold to account those responsible for gross human rights violations committed in the country between July 1994 and January 2017 during the dictatorship of former President Yahya Jammeh. Such an internationalized court presents an opportunity to deliver criminal accountability to the victims and Gambian society as whole. It is also just the latest step in The Gambia’s transitional justice journey.

On February 8, ICTJ held an event in The Hague on the missing and disappeared in Syria, in partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The event brought together activists, journalists, artists, and policymakers to reflect on the critical humanitarian needs of victims and their families and the role of the newly established international body on the missing in Syria, which is mandated in part to address these needs.

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.