In Focus


In seeking to establish accountability for past atrocity, many transitional justice mandates have also sought to redress crimes against indigenous populations. To further explore this relationship, ICTJ and our partners in Canada and Colombia are holding two side events to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.


The conviction of former Liberian president Charles Taylor for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in neighboring Sierra Leone finds both West African countries and the region grappling with his terrible legacy. And while the people, and especially Taylor’s victims, in Sierra Leone welcome it as an important step in the country’s effort to overcome the consequences of the brutal civil war, Liberians are still a long way from seeing accountability for the suffering they endured.


As ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company, invests 19.2 million pounds of steel to construct a monument marking London’s Olympic Games, a disturbing story is emerging about the refusal to memorialize a former concentration camp in Bosnia it owns today. Not only is ArcelorMittal unwilling to provide even a fraction of the cost of the London “Orbit” to commemorate the suffering of Bosnians in the notorious Omarska camp, but it has recently started denying victims access to the site.


The conviction of Thomas Lubanga is a milestone for the international criminal justice system and may make an important contribution to the development and definition of the right to reparations in international human rights law. Accompanying a submission filed with the ICC in advance of its reparations proceedings, ICTJ has produced a briefing note examining what lessons the court can learn from the broader transitional justice field.


The National Conference to Launch a Dialogue on Transitional Justice in Tunisia was held on Saturday, April 14 in Tunis, initiating a process which should result in the adoption of a comprehensive law on transitional justice by the country’s National Constituent Assembly. ICTJ president David Tolbert delivered a keynote address.


It is an honor and a privilege for me to be with you for this important national conference. One year ago, on this exact same date, just three months after the Tunisian people impressed the world by peacefully ending decades of repression, I had the pleasure to speak at a conference ICTJ organized here in Tunis together with the Arab Institute for Human Rights, the Tunisian League for Human Rights and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It was an important and lively debate on how to address the legacy of the past and move forward.


On April 9, Colombia commemorated for the first time the National Day of the Memory and Solidarity with the Victims. This photo gallery collects the expressions of commemoration that took place in three cities in the country: Bogotá, Medellín and Villavicencio.


Colombia marked the country’s first National Day of Memory and Solidarity with the Victims April 9. For the millions who have suffered human rights violations in Colombia’s entrenched armed conflict, this was a day for their voices to be heard and their suffering to be acknowledged by the state; a nationwide call for accountability and reconciliation in a highly divided society.


Last month ICTJ, with Saint Joseph University’s Modern Arab World Research Center and UMAM Documentation and Research launched the website “Badna Naaref” (We Want to Know). This oral history project conducted by students tells the stories of suffering and survival during the war in Lebanon, serving both to commemorate and educate.


The search for justice in Guatemala continues, more than 15 years after the end of its long and brutal civil war. Claudia Paz, Guatemala’s prosecutor general and head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, spoke with ICTJ about the struggle of victims and survivors to obtain justice for the crimes they suffered.