53 results

George Floyd’s death reignited existing anger over American society’s deep and festering racial wounds. His death triggered significant social uprisings that have challenged the methods of policing that have emerged over the course of several decades. With a growing awareness of polic...

Three police officers kneel with several protesters at a demonstration.

ICTJ Vice President Paul Seils interviewed South African judge and human rights activist Albie Sachs.

Indigenous peoples are still some of the most marginalized and vulnerable communities around the world. In a conflict, they are often some of the most affected as their resource-rich territories are coveted by powerful and violent groups, their identity and loyalty perceived with mistrust, and their...

ICTJ was pleased to host the newly elected United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence, Fabian Salvioli (Argentina), at its New York office, where he discussed his vision and priorities.

Bring General Rios Montt and other high ranking members of the military to trial in the Guatemalan courts for genocide? In 1999 it was a noble dream for justice, but one with little apparent possibility of ever coming true. On International Justice Day, walk the long path to justice that led to this historic trial.

In transitional contexts, reporting does not simply present the facts, but instead shapes the parameters for interpreting divisive political issues. Coverage in such polarized contexts can mitigate or obscure the substance of transitional justice efforts to establish what happened, wh...

In a society grappling with the legacy of the past, citizens must make informed judgements and disentangle the facts from the sticky web of political rhetoric, denial, and polarizing propaganda. To do so, they rely on one key agent of social change: the media. But how can transitional processes effectively partner with the media and engage key constituencies? And what happens when media play a decisively negative role in mediating information about war crimes?

The international organizations who have signed this statement are appalled at the illegal raid which occurred on August 15, 2016 at the residence of Guatemalan lawyer and human rights defender Ramón Cadena, Central America Director of the International Commission of Jurists.

As we search for ways to halt the violence and foster lasting peace in societies grappling with a legacy of massive human rights abuse, there is arguably no more important day to reflect upon the importance of the struggle for truth and justice than today, March 24. Thus, we take a moment to mark the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims.

Today the trial begins in the “Sepur Zarco” case of acts of sexual violence and domestic and sexual slavery committed from 1982 to 1986 by members of the Guatemalan army against Maya Q’eqchi’ women and the forced disappearance of several men. This will be the first time in the world that a national court has tried a case of wartime sexual slavery case.

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.

In this edition of the ICTJ Program Report, ICTJ Senior Associate Felix Reátegui discusses the principles behind the Truth and Memory program, and explains the imperatives of uncovering, acknowledging, and memorializing the past.

Truth commissions can make important contributions to peace processes if all parties can agree on common objectives and there is genuine local political will to shed light on past events. This is the key finding of a new study – titled “Challenging the Conventional: Can Truth Commissions Strengthen Peace Processes?” – to be released on 19 June 2014 by ICTJ and the Kofi Annan Foundation.

This joint report by ICTJ and the Kofi Annan Foundation explores common assumptions about why truth commissions are created in the wake of armed conflict and what factors make them more likely to succeed – or fail. It arises from a high-level symposium hosted by the two organizations ...

ICTJ participated in the launch of a new report on the relationship between transitional justice and development, launched by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).

Guatemalan lawyers for victims in the case against former dictator Efraín Ríos Mont filed a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to condemn the state of Guatemala for the impunity for crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity committed against the Ixil people.

Can truth commissions help secure a just peace following a violent conflict in which massive human rights abuses are committed? In this special series of the ICTJ Forum, we present a series of conversations with some of the world’s top peace mediators and truth commission experts, whose collective experience include years on the front lines of critical peace agreements in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) welcomes today’s verdict in Guatemala by the High Risk Court in the trial of former military dictator José Efrain Ríos Montt. The 86-year-old ex-general was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity against the indigenous Mayan Ixil population during Guatemala’s Civil War. He was sentenced to a total of 80 years in prison. José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, the co-accused, who headed military intelligence under Ríos Montt, was found innocent.

Nine international human rights and legal groups have welcomed the resumption of the Guatemalan trial of Efraín Ríos Montt, the former military dictator, for genocide and crimes against humanity. The trial has taken another step towards its conclusion with the hearing of final arguments from the prosecution and victims’ representatives today and yesterday.

To discuss the recent chain of controversial upsets in the Rios Montt trial, we spoke with two transitional justice experts who have just returned from the courtroom in Guatemala City: Susan Kemp, prosecutions consultant for ICTJ, and Marcie Merksy, Director of Program Office. Informed by extensive work in both criminal justice and Guatemala, they offer an analysis of the dramatic events of the past week, discuss the legal and political complexities of the case, and consider possible scenarios that could develop. [Download](/sites/default/files/ICTJ-Podcast-Riosmontt-Guatemala-04-25-13.mp3) | Duration: 24:10 mins | File size: 22,659 KB

Four international legal and human rights groups are together urging all concerned to ensure that the current trial in Guatemala of former president Efrain Rios Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity proceeds with due respect for judicial independence. The four are: the Open Society Justice Initiative, the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).

In this op-ed, ICTJ's Marcie Mersky argues that the significance of the genocide trial for José Efraín Ríos Montt stretches far beyond Guatemala: it is the first time that a former head of state is being tried for genocide in a credible national court, by the national authorities, in the country where the alleged crimes took place.

On Tuesday, March 19, the genocide trial of General Efraín Ríos Montt began at the High Risk Tribunal in Guatemala. To talk about this historic development in Guatemala’s pursuit of accountability we talk with us one of the key players: Guatemalan Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey

On a historic day for justice in Guatemala and the world, the trial for Guatemala’s former military dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt began this morning in Guatemala City. Ríos Montt and his co-accused, José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez – are standing trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity during the civil war in Guatemala, in which some 200,000 people were killed or disappeared, a majority of them indigenous Maya.

From February 27-March 1, leading indigenous rights activists from around the world will join their counterparts and other experts at Columbia University to discuss access to truth, justice, and reconciliation for indigenous peoples.

Indigenous rights are increasingly being addressed through different transitional justice measures, and ICTJ is actively involved in the discourse on how truth commissions and other transitional justice mechanisms can help the struggle for the rights of indigenous people.

The decision of a judge in Guatemala City to send former military dictator Efraín Ríos Montt to trial on charges of genocide and war crimes is a watershed moment in the country’s complex journey towards a genuine respect for the rule of law. This genocide trial - the first genuine attempt anywhere to prosecute a former head of state in his own country on charges of genocide – has the potential to shatter a significant part of the wall of denial that surrounds Guatemala. For that to happen, the trial must be fair and free of intimidation, argues ICTJ Vice President Paul Seils in this op-ed.

A former U.S.-backed dictator who presided over one of the bloodiest periods of Guatemala's civil war will stand trial on charges he ordered the murder, torture and displacement of thousands of Mayan Indians, a judge ruled Monday. "It's the beginning of a new phase of this struggle," said Paul Seils, vice president of the New York-based International Center for Transitional Justice.

The latest episode of ICTJ Forum features ICTJ's Marcie Mersky, who joins host and Communications Director Refik Hodzic for an in-depth analysis of news in Guatemala and Nepal, and looks ahead to the next year of transitional justice developments around the world.

In January 2012, Guatemalan General Ríos Montt was formally charged with genocide for ordering massacres during the genocide in Guatemala. Only a year later, justice for victims has come under threat: Guatemalans and the international community are gravely concerned that the Constitutional Court could be pressured into granting amnesty. On Thursday, December 20, ICTJ joined colleagues and partners in the field to send a strong message to Guatemala: architects of atrocity must be held to account.

In Guatemala, it has taken years of relentless organizing by civil society and cooperation with international partners to begin to prosecute the most responsible, but progress has been made. Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey, currently the prosecutor general and head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, has played an instrumental role in the struggle for accountability. In this recent interview, ICTJ spoke with Ms. Paz about confronting the legacy of the past at the national level within an international system of global criminal justice.

ICTJ partnered with the Center for Global Affairs at New York University to explore how political will of international and national actors impacts national war crimes proceedings. The panel examined four diverse country scenarios - the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Serbia, Iraq, and Guatemala.

The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the Governments of Denmark and South Africa, and in close consultation with the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute (ASP), held a...

When perpetrators of serious international crimes are brought to justice by the country in which they committed their crimes, it signals a strong commitment to accountability and the rule of law. To ensure that domestic investigations and prosecutions occur for serious crimes such as genocide and crimes against humanity, the need for international assistance goes beyond the walls of the courtroom: development agencies and rule of law actors can provide countries with essential support to fairly and effectively prosecute serious international crimes in their own courts.

In the quest to bring perpetrators of massive crimes to justice, international courts should be considered only as a last resort. Efforts to establish rule of law require the development of national capacity to prosecute the most serious crimes. On 25 and 26 October 2012, leading international actors from the judicial, rule of law, and development sectors will convene at the Greentree Estate in Manhasset, New York for the third Greentree Conference on Complementarity. The meeting aims to examine the needs of and challenges to national prosecutions for the most serious crimes in four countries: Ivory Coast, the DRC, Colombia, and Guatemala.

Forced disappearance is a crime against humanity. The decisions made by politicians and officials authorizing such practices in different countries cannot be justified legally or morally. They must be held to account and be shown for what they are: enemies of a civilized society.

As the world marks August 30, the International Day of the Disappeared, we are reminded that forced disappearances and transitional justice share a common history. Indeed, processes working in concert that came to form the field of transitional justice were born from the search for truth and justice about the disappeared.

Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, a recent documentary from Skylight Pictures, shows the international effort that has worked tirelessly to bring Montt to account for his crimes. ICTJ is pleased to announce that Granito will be aired on Thursday, June 28 at 10pm on the PBS series P.O.V.

In societies confronting the legacies of war, tyranny, or entrenched injustice, the experiences of indigenous people have often been marginalized. ICTJ has published a handbook offering guidance on planning truth commissions and commissions of inquiry that safeguard the interests of indigenous communities and address violations against them.

Indigenous peoples are among those most affected by contemporary conflict. The resource-rich territories they occupy are coveted by powerful, often violent groups. Their identity is perceived with mistrust, sometimes with hate. Indigenous communities live at a precarious intersection ...

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.

The last few decades have seen a revolution in the global struggle against impunity, but the decision to put General Efraín Ríos Montt on trial for crimes against humanity and genocide in Guatemala ranks among the most astonishing developments. Belatedly, but valiantly, a new breed of prosecutors, led by Attorney General Claudia Paz, have finally allowed his victims' pleas for justice to be heard.

On Thursday, January 26, retired Guatemalan general Efraín Ríos Montt will stand before a judge in a Guatemalan court to hear the charges brought against him for genocide and crimes against humanity. ICTJ commends Guatemala for taking these important first steps to bring justice to bear after decades of impunity.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Children of Cain, the first book by writer and journalist Tina Rosenberg. ICTJ spoke with Rosenberg about how political violence has evolved in Latin America over the past 20 years, and the continuing need for accountability for past atrocities.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Children of Cain, the first book by writer and journalist Tina Rosenberg. ICTJ spoke with Rosenberg about how political violence has evolved in Latin America over the past 20 years, and the continuing need for accountability for past atrocities.

ICTJ hosted a conference on “Strengthening Indigenous Rights through Truth Commissions” July 19-21, 2011. Regional and international experts convened to discuss how truth commissions can incorporate and address indigenous peoples’ rights. Videos of each session and summaries of the conference proceedings are available.

ICTJ's expert conference on the relationship between truth-seeking and indigenous rights is in session. View the live stream here.

This study examines the development of restitution and reparations in international law and practice over the last century. It aims to provide recommendations on how restitution can best contribute to transitional justice by reviewing four case-studies: the Czech Republic, South Afric...

The Documentation Affinity Group (DAG) was established in 2005 by ICTJ and five partner organizations as a peer-to-peer network with a primary focus on human rights documentation. Documenting Truth collects the best practices derived from the work of the DAG organizations in Cambodia,...

SEILS: ICTJ are delighted to host today a real giant in the world of political and legal struggle. Albie Sachs has not only played a huge and influential role in the development of the South African constitution but after being nominated by Nelson Mandela for 15 years in the new constitutional court...