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Ten Syrian human rights organizations have been working in partnership with the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) to document and expose the long-term impacts of the attacks to and the destruction of schools in Syria. The project, Save Syrian Schools, will present its findings in a public hearing-style event in Geneva on March 22nd, at Forum Genève. The project works creatively to document human rights abuses and includes a public hearing-style event, multimedia, and high-level dialogue.

This report is based on qualitative interviews with Central African refugees living in Chad and Cameroon, in which they were asked about their experience of displacement and their intentions and concerns regarding return, reconciliation, and justice. Refugees said that if peace a...

In early May, the African National Congress (ANC) held on to power in South Africa’s general election. However, there is a widespread feeling that the party that oversaw the creation of the groundbreaking Truth and Reconciliation Commission has walked away from its obligations to the South African people.

2020 was a year of unforeseen hardships throughout the world. We may wish to write off last year as a loss and move forward. However, looking back on it as we do in this 2020 Year in Review, in which we highlight our most read content, we can find and take heart in important victories and apply lessons learned in 2021 and beyond.

In 2021, there were significant developments, some hopeful and some devastating, in the struggle for truth, accountability, and redress in countries around the world. ICTJ experts covered these events in commentaries and feature stories published on our website and in our newsletters. While 2022 is already underway and we at ICTJ are hard at work, we would like to pause a moment to take stock and reflect on the year that was.

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.

As Colombia marked International Justice Day, the importance of accountability for violations committed during the decades of conflict was underscored in the number of victims awaiting justice—376,000 registered in the Attorney General’s Office, more than 4 million in total. And while July 17 is celebrated as the date of adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, it is clear that in countries like Colombia accountability extends beyond criminal trials.

The global COVID-19 pandemic forced many countries to impose emergency measures, such as curfews and community lockdowns, to stem the spread of the virus. To enforce these measures, some societies have given regular police forces increased power to enforce the measures, while others h...

In 2016, the Yemeni National Commission to Investigate Alleged Violations to Human Rights began documenting violations committed since the 2011 uprising and during the subsequent brutal civil war, which continues today. To date, the commission has documented more than 23,000 human rights abuses and referred over 2,000 cases to Yemen’s Public Prosecutor for prosecution. However, no verdict has been issued in any of these cases. To help the commissioners and members of Yemen’s judiciary advance accountability, ICTJ organized a workshop for them on transitional justice mechanisms. However, to deliver a justice that meets all the reparative needs of victims, these efforts must be an integral part of a broader, multifaceted transitional justice process.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the hip hop movement. To honor its contributions to the struggle for justice, truth, and equality, the Skoll Foundation hosted a panel discussion and concert event featuring hip hop artists, including cofounder of the legendary rap group Run-DMC Darryl McDaniels and Colombian rapper and producer Ali aka Mind, as part of its 20th World Forum held in April in Oxford, United Kingdom. ICTJ, which received the Skoll Award for Social Innovation in 2009 and has partnered with the Skoll Foundation since, invited Ali aka Mind as a representative of Rexistencia Hip Hop, an artistic mentorship and creation lab led by ICTJ’s office in Colombia and the Latin American media outlet and foundation Cartel Urbano.

A new ICTJ report argues that in Africa's interconnected Great Lakes region, each country’s attempt to provide justice for past violations offers lessons for similar processes in others. We gathered civil society activists from across the region to discuss which strategies have worked for them, which have not, and opened up about the greatest challenges they face in securing justice.

Invoking the principle of universal jurisdiction opens the door to the possibility of some accountability in circumstances where justice is not possible in countries where the crimes took place. This study considers the challenges facing the exercise of universal jurisdiction and asse...

This comparative study examines strategies used by local actors to help operationalize reparations for victims of widespread human rights violations, while highlighting the synergies between these efforts and sustainable development. It is based on the fieldwork of ICTJ and its partne...

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As new evidence of past violations comes to light, Afghanistan must prioritize transitional justice measures to break the cycle of abuse. ICTJ's new briefing paper provides analysis of past reports identifying the patterns of abuses and puts forth recommendations to the government of Afghanistan.

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 ...

In today’s United States, civic trust that has been systematically eroded among many communities of color. There is little basis, either historically or in the current political atmosphere, for African Americans and other minorities to have this essential trust in government institutions, particularly in the police. To build that relationship, there must first be a reckoning, writes ICTJ President David Tolbert.

In this op-ed, ICTJ's Aileen Thomson and Bo Kyi argue that in the wake of Myanmar's historic elections, the release of all political prisoners held by the government would be an important step towards national reconciliation.

Tunis, July 10, 2020—The Truth and Dignity Commission’s (TDC) final report was at last published on June 24, six year after the TDC began its work. It marks an important milestone in Tunisia’s transition, but the journey ahead to justice and democracy is a long one. Policymakers and practitioners now have the responsibility to take the next step forward.

On January 27, 2022, the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group will examine Uganda’s human rights record. The UPR process presents an important opportunity to spotlight the human rights situation in the country, and recommend actions that the government of Uganda should take to fulfill its human rights obligations.

This study examines the preventive effect of transitional justice in Peru in the aftermath of internal conflict and authoritarianism, focusing on the violence’s root causes and the differentiated impact on victims and affected communities. It contends that while transitional justice h...

It only takes a quick skim of the daily news to see how the world has yet again failed Afghan civilians. Afghanistan has not had many good years in the past four decades of war, but the past 15 months have been decidedly fraught. The current chaos and spiking violence are proof that, despite what the US government has proclaimed, the “forever war” rages on. Peace and meaningful, victim-centered justice remain elusive.

During the past month, over 400,000 members of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim community have been driven from their homes as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign led by the military. What lies at the root of the current violence, how is it connected to political transition, and does transitional justice have a role to play? ICTJ's Anna Myriam Roccatello answers those questions and more.

As part of its ongoing support of the Committee of the Families of the Kidnapped and Disappeared in Lebanon, ICTJ organized a three-day virtual workshop on transitional justice for university students on July 12-14, 2021. The students all served as volunteers on a project to establish an archive of the committee’s work and activism over the past four decades and participated in a previous workshop in February 2020 that introduced them to transitional justice concepts.

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.

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.

Five years ago, in August 2018, to mark his 100 days in office, Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan addressed a large rally in Yerevan’s Republic Square to officially announce his government’s intentions to incorporate transitional justice mechanisms into Armenian post-revolution reform agenda. Since then, Armenia has been pursuing a range of transitional justice initiatives alongside other democratic reforms, and it has made some limited headway, despite setbacks and major challenges including renewed conflict with Azerbaijan.

This summer, our Intensive Course on Transitional Justice and Peace Processes brought experts from around the world together in Barcelona to examine how transitional mechanisms can be integrated into peace negotiations. Read about the course and watch interviews with our experts.

From October 1 to October 5, 2018, ICTJ hosted its eleventh intensive course on transitional justice in collaboration with the International Peace Center for in Barcelona. Participants included leaders in their respective fields, including human rights law, community justice and legal services, peacebuilding, education, and humanitarian affairs.

Based on significant field research and interviews with the Higher National de-Baathification Commission, this report focuses on Iraq’s purge of members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, which is the most well-known example of large-scale and politically based dismissals in the Middle ...

Eight years into a brutal war, the people of Yemen are still suffering through the worst humanitarian crisis on earth. The war has resulted in over 370,000 deaths, more than half of which are linked to indirect causes such as hunger and preventable diseases. Around 4 million people have been...

Transitional justice, at the core of its mission, strives to “break the ground on a future of peace and stability.” For countries with a violent or repressive past—and this can be said of most—implementing truth-seeking, criminal justice, reparations, and institutional reform measures forms the basis for establishing a culture of justice and respect for the rule of law.

Building a constitutional state and pursuing social change is best approached by looking at prior successes. Here is a comparison between the Kenyan and South African constitutions and an outline of how constitutional litigation unfolded in South Africa.

Following post-election violence in 2007–2008, Kenya faced a need to hold accountable those most responsible for the fighting that resulted in more than 1,000 deaths and widespread property destruction and displacement. But national judicial mechanisms proved reticent to do so, and in 2010, the situation was adopted by the ICC, who in January of 2012 announced indictments against four suspects.

The armed conflict in Northern Uganda, stretching across more than two decades, greatly affected the local populations, which suffered multiple forms of war crimes and gross abuses of human rights. This study assesses the opportunities for providing interim relief to victims of confli...

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 acc...

In its report, the Kenya Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission concluded that “corruption is endemic in Kenya” and that “there is a direct link between corruption and gross violation of human rights.” This paper considers the extent of impunity for corruption in Kenya, how corr...

Saudi Arabia’s recent proposed plan to end the brutal conflict in Yemen comes as it enters its seventh grueling year. The initiative was widely welcomed by countries in the region and around the world. The United Nations considers the initiative to be in line with its efforts to broker a peace deal in Yemen and reiterated that “all actors and stakeholders must do their utmost to facilitate an immediate agreement that brings Yemen back to a path towards peace.” However, the Saudi initiative is only the latest in a series of attempts to establish peace in Yemen. Other recent ceasefire agreements have failed.

The political crisis in Venezuela has reached a breaking point. The upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for December 6 threaten to deprive the opposition of its institutional foothold, on which the legitimacy of its demand to establish an interim government rests. Moreover, observers both inside and outside Venezuela have repeatedly warned that the conditions are unsuitable for fair and impartial elections. A political solution now depends on the government backpedaling from its recent refusal to postpone the elections and allowing the European Union to observe them. It also requires the opposition to take a clear stance beyond calling for the removal of the president.

Last month, the United Nations established a new mission in Haiti, focused on strengthening rule of law institutions and human rights reporting. Can it work with activists to challenge impunity? We sat down with Isabelle Clérié, a Haitian civil society organizer, about the mission, what it can accomplish, and how the past is understood in the country.

This report presents findings from a study conducted by ICTJ, the Women’s Advocacy Network, and the Global Survivors Fund to assess the reparative justice needs of victims of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) in Uganda. The study is based on interviews and focus group discussion...

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The resignation and indictment of President Otto Pérez Molina for corruption was a significant victory over impunity in Guatemala. In an interview with journalist Carlos Dada, we discussed how recent developments in Guatemala could impact other countries in Central America, such as Honduras and El Salvador.

Although youth are key political and social stakeholders who have much to contribute to—and gain from—transitional justice processes, they often remain marginalized from such processes or are given only a limited and predetermined space in which to engage. In recent years, the peacebu...

For many years now, the International Center for Transitional Justice and other organizations have supported young activists and artists as they harness the power of art, culture, and new media to advance truth, justice, reform, and redress, not only where they live, but across borders and in collaboration with others. This innovative and inspiring work offers lessons about how to increase civic engagement and help societies know the truth about their country’s past and actively shape the national narrative.

In recent months, the crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) that erupted five years ago has seemed farther than ever from resolution. A new report by ICTJ, I Am 100% Central African: Identity and Inclusion in the Experience of Central African Muslim Refugees in Chad and Cameroon, offers important insights on how a higher political commitment to inclusion could help transform a volatile rebuilding process into a sustainable peace.

At a time when truth-seeking and reparations initiatives are taking hold across the United States, this report offers reflections from various civil society-led truth-seeking processes. Drawing on case studies from the United States, Colombia, Scotland, and West Papua, the report iden...

People gather around a plaque marking the Greenboro Massacre outside during an inaugural ceremony

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.

Colombia’s new president Gustavo Petro was elected to office on a progressive campaign to strengthen democracy, implement social reforms, and bring “total peace” to the country. His approach to peace encompasses political negotiations with all remaining insurgent groups and simultaneous dialogues with criminal organizations geared toward their voluntary submission to justice in exchange for punitive leniency. But eight months into his administration, Petro’s efforts to deliver on his campaign promise are facing numerous challenges.

In the dynamic political landscape that has emerged following 50 years of conflict, Colombia is taking steps toward truth and accountability. The Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence, and Non-Repetition (the “Commission”) is scheduled to begin taking statements in November 2018. As part of its mandate, it will hear the stories of victims now living throughout the Diaspora.

This report aims to help practitioners in the transitional justice field to understand the experience of establishing and operating hybrid courts and to address some common assumptions about these entities. To do so, it looks at hybrid or mixed courts in practice, drawing on experienc...

TUNIS—ICTJ hosted a conference on May 2 and 3 to address the current challenges facing Tunisia’s Specialized Criminal Chambers (SCC) as it proceeds to adjudicate cases of serious human rights violations committed under the former regime. The 90 guests who attended included members of Tunisia’s Truth...