Briefing Paper


This briefing paper sets out the obligations of the state and international best practice with respect to the right to truth, both as a key element of a transitional justice strategy and as a critical component of providing effective remedy to victims of gross violations of human rights and grave breaches of humanitarian law. It reiterates ICTJ’s long-standing belief that a truth commission is necessary in Nepal and that the search for the disappeared is an urgent obligation. The creation of effective truth-seeking policies and instruments is important due to elements of the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and obligations contained in the 2007 Interim Constitution; but above all, it is essential as a means to realize the right to the truth. However, for truth-seeking to be successful, the instrument or instruments established to realize it must ensure its effectiveness.

Date published: 
Fri, 12/07/2012 - 09:30


National healing and reconciliation in Uganda requires a multilayered truth-telling process comprised of community and national processes that are mutually reinforcing and should not be mutually exclusive, as proposed by the JLOS report. A national truth-telling body should address issues of state responsibility. Importantly a national truth-telling process would be in a strong position to solicit and consider submissions for institutional reforms and reparations proposed by community-based processes throughout Uganda. Additionally it could recommend the necessary measures to redress the suffering of victims and prevent the reoccurrence of conflict and abuse.

Date published: 
Wed, 09/26/2012 - 11:14


Since independence Ugandans have endured episodes of violence and human rights abuses across successive political regimes and transitions with devastating consequences. During two decades of conflict in the northern Uganda involving the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the government forces, human rights abuses were perpetrated against individuals, families, and communities. With the return to peace, the government, victims’ groups, and civil society are now considering how to move forward with a national policy on transitional justice that includes reparations for victims in the north given the magnitude of serious violations that were committed.

Date published: 
Mon, 09/24/2012 - 13:22


ICTJ’s briefing paper “Building Trust and Strengthening the Rule of Law” examines how an ad hoc vetting mechanism for officers in senior command positions could help consolidate democracy in Nepal. Author Alexander Mayer-Rieckh says that as Nepal abandons its commitments to pursue accountability for serious crimes, it undermines the ability of its security forces to maintain the rule of law and protect a new era of peace.

Date published: 
Thu, 08/23/2012 - 09:20


In 2006, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) launched an unprecedented effort to document the violations of international humanitarian law in Afghanistan between 1978 and 2001. Though it has not yet been made public, the 1000-page AIHRC Conflict Mapping Report is the most comprehensive documentation of this period in Afghanistan to date. As new evidence of past violations comes to light, Afghanistan must prioritize transitional justice measures to break the cycle of abuse. The briefing paper entitled “Afghanistan: The Past as a Prologue,” provides analysis of past reports identifying the patterns of abuses and puts forth recommendations to the government of Afghanistan as it confronts new evidence of the past.

Date published: 
Tue, 07/24/2012 - 11:07


Following field research in late 2009 and a 2010 workshop in Kinshasa, ICTJ produced a report in French on the challenges of enforcing court-ordered reparations. This briefing paper outlines and summarizes the challenges and recommendations discussed in the report. It also proposes additional steps that the government, international community, victims and civil society organizations can take to address the failure of the DRC to fulfill outstanding orders for reparations, as well as broader measures that can be implemented, including non-judicial reparations measures.

Date published: 
Mon, 06/18/2012 - 08:42


The conviction of Thomas Lubanga is a milestone for the international criminal justice system established by the Rome Statute, and may make an important contribution to the development and definition of the right to reparations in international human rights law. ICTJ has produced a briefing note examining the practical and legal issues surrounding the ICC's decision in regards to reparations in the Lubanga case, as well as what lessons the ICC can learn from the broader experiences of the transitional justice field.

Date published: 
Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:26


Thirteen years after the fall of Soeharto, victims in Indonesia continue to suffer from the negative effects of gross human rights violations and from ongoing discrimination. Although efforts by the president and the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to create a reparations policy have lost momentum, victims' demands have not diminished. This report by ICTJ, IKOHI and KKPK makes recommendations to the government to take both immediate and longer-term actions to meet victims' demands for reparation.

Date published: 
Mon, 12/12/2011 - 08:06


During peace negotiations, there is often a belief that providing amnesties for certain crimes will help promote national reconciliation. Nepal's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Bill currently contains provisions on both amnesty and reconciliation. However, the Bill itself is not explicit in linking the ability to recommend amnesty to its reconciliation provisions. This briefing note seeks to explore the concepts of amnesty and reconciliation, and highlight a few implications of the Bill's provisions for victims.

Date published: 
Thu, 12/08/2011 - 09:28


Recent speculation indicates that U.S. President George W. Bush may grant pardons to administration officials and members of the military who might face prosecution for authorizing, ordering, endorsing, justifying or committing acts pursuant to the “war on terror.” While a pardon application process exists within the Department of Justice, the president is free to issue pardons without regard to the process and for any reason, including a desire to shield members of his administration and the military from investigations.

Date published: 
Sat, 11/01/2008 - 11:43