ICTJ Announces 7th Intensive Course on Truth Commissions

6/8/2015

The media and the public sphere play key roles in translating and disseminating information related to truth-seeking processes. Indeed, one measure of a truth commission’s ultimate success is its ability to drive substantive change in a post-conflict context. How might the media and the public sphere participate in a way that will allow the work of a truth commission to resonate in broader society, both during and after its mandate has ended?

The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Barcelona International Peace Resource Center (BIPRC) are pleased to announce their 7th intensive course on truth commissions: “Truth Commissions, the Public Sphere and the Media” to be held on September 28 - October 2, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.

About the Course

Truth commissions (official, non-judicial inquiries into human rights violations) have become essential tools in post-conflict and post-authoritarian settings as part of comprehensive strategies at the center of peacebuilding, rule of law, and transitional justice. By mobilizing victims and giving voice to marginalized populations, they have a strong impact on societal narratives of violence and on reconstruction policy.

This year’s course will be of particular interest to journalists and transitional justice practitioners working in outreach, communications and the media. The course will cover the place of truth commissions in society, in terms of their role as political, social and moral agents impacting on the public sphere through the truth-telling process they activate. Participants will have the opportunity to share their perspectives on the role of media and the public sphere in shaping public perceptions of truth processes and creating a space for public awareness and reflection. The course will also highlight examples from various post-conflict contexts of how victims have been made more visible through the media and how outreach can be used to make truth commissions more accessible to all. While the bulk of the course will focus on the methodology of truth commissions, the importance of translating its messages is crucial to the overall success of the process and will be a central theme throughout the sessions.

This course is unique in that it distills practical knowledge from experts who have worked on or participated directly with truth commissions and other transitional justice mechanisms around the world. This course will give practitioners directly involved in human rights, mediation, peacebuilding, rule of law, and transitional justice the basic tools to assess the propriety of creating a truth commission in the aftermath of serious human rights violations and ensuring that the design and implementation of truth commissions are sensitive to contextual realities. Participants will be given the knowledge required to conceive, implement, and engage with truth commissions, in accordance with best practices and comparative experience.

Course discussion topics will include: the political, social and legal implications of truth-seeking; the key aspects of legal mandates and their implementation; the importance of the final report; and how gender, children and indigenous perspectives can be incorporated.

The program is targeted at mid-career and senior staff of multilateral agencies, governments, NGOs, foundations, law firms and universities. Practitioners directly involved in countries considering the establishment of truth commissions or similar efforts are especially encouraged to apply. This year’s course will be particularly useful to investigative journalists and to transitional justice practitioners involved in outreach and media work.

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More information about the course, including the course application, can be found here.