Post Conflict Communities and Transitional Justice

During transitions, from authoritarian and repressive regimes to societal stability, from civil conflicts to democracy, human rights abuses must be addressed through legal prosecution. This is essential from a legal perspective and has significant impact on mental health, facilitating healing and coping after periods of unrest, injustice, and violence.

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Human Rights framework Guidelines and manuals Post-conflict communities and Transitional Justice – some examples in reality Reparation and mental health recovery Gender, post-conflict communities and transitional justice Children, post-conflict communities and transitional justice Evaluation of transitional justice Organisations and sites

Human Rights framework

Key resolutions and statements about this topic developed in recent years. These represent a crucial framework already put into action in numerous countries and various settings. Furthermore, there are plans to implement them in more national groups in the future.

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Artic...

UN

Protection of the victims and witnesses and their participation in the proceedings 1. The Court shall take appropriate measures to protect the safety, physical and psychological well-being, dignity and privacy of victims and witnesses. In so doing, t...

Human Rights Resolution: 2004/34

2004High Commissioner of Human Rights

Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights, other relevant human rights instruments and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.

Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remed...

2005UN

Recalling the adoption of the Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law by the Commission on Huma...

Guide for policymakers

1999United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, UNODCCP

This handbook (51 p.) outlines the UN declaration of Basis Principles of Justice 40/34, with advice and guidance how that can be pursued.

Handbook on Justice for Victims

1999UNODCCP

This represents a detailed handbook (133 p)which tries to explain the “use and application” of the UN declaration of basic principles of justice for victims of crime and abuse of power from 1985. This is based on the conviction that victims should be...

Declaration of Cooperation – Mental health of refugees,...

2001WHO,

This WHO-declaration is intended to serve as a working instrument, providing framework to achieve consensus and cooperation.

 

Guidelines and manuals

Here we have collected some handbooks which additional to general outlines focus on this side of transitional justice.

Handbook for repatriation and reintegration Activities

UNHCR, Amadou Tijan Jallow

The Handbook for Repatriation and Reintegration Activities (“the Handbook”) is a guide for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and partner staff in the field to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate repatriation and reintegration ac...

The Law and Practice of Rehabilitation in Domestic Admi...

2012Essex Transitional Justice Network

Rehabilitation as a form of reparation for gross violations of international human rights law and serious breaches of international humanitarian law has received sparse attention in literature and in practice, despite its vital and immediate role in ...

Mental Health Policy, Plans and Programmes

2004WHO

This paper (120 p.) represents a great collection of service guides and packages concerning various themes within the topic “mental health policy”. Here we find also mental health legislation and human rights, as well as advocacy and organization.

Reconciliation after Violent Conflict; A Handbook

2003IDEA, David Bloomfield, Teresa Barnes and Luc Huyse

This handbook discusses the demand of better tools to address the subject of reconciliation, and the challenges of democratization after violent conflicts. Target group: (legal) professionals working with reconciliation. – International Institute for...

Psychosocial Healing – A Guide for Practitioners

2003Medical Network for Social Reconstruction in the Former Yugoslavia,

This guide (126 p.)provides a great overview over the topic psychosocial trauma healing in post-conflict social reconstruction. It is given a description of stress-/trauma-symptoms, offering exercises turned out to be useful, guidelines to set up tra...

Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction

2009United States Institute of Peace,

This is a very detailed book (244 p.) containing almost all approaches within the challenge to help in the aftermath of war, conflict or disaster to develop a stabile community (unfortunately no focus in special on mental health).

 

Post-conflict communities and Transitional Justice – some examples in reality

The implementation of transitional justice in international law, and the increased consciousness on this topic made it possible that during the past years tribunals could be established in the aftermath of (civil) wars and armed conflict. Here we are listing some web-sites and literature.

Colombia’s Truth Commission Prepares to Embark on the E...

2018ICTJ Nyasha Laing

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 schedul...

Transitional Justice – time for a re-think

Paul Seils, Open Global Rights, 2019

What would justice look like in the conflicts in Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia? What would we expect it to achieve? For more than two decades, the field of transitional justice has sought to answer such quest...

Towards justice and reconciliation in post-conflict cou...

2018Charles Mulinda Kabwete,

This article contributes to the debates around concepts of truth, confession, forgiveness and reconciliation. The theoretical discussion shows to what extent these concepts are interconnected, and share a complex relation with justice and reconciliat...

To Prosecute or Not to Prosecute: The Need for Justice ...

2017United Nations University,

At the close of his visit to Sri Lanka in late October 2017, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Mr Pablo de Greiff concluded that Sri Lanka “continues to deprive itself of the be...

Progress of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of...

2009The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)

Overview of the proceedings of the ECCC, the hybrid tribunal created in 2006 to try senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge and those “most responsible” for the crimes that took place. The court has five suspects in custody and has almost completed its fir...

Exhumation of Mass Graves in Iraq, Considerations for F...

Eric Stover; William D. Haglund, Margaret Samuels, 2003

As part of a larger strategy to rebuild Iraq's health care system, the coordinating body could also oversee the training of local forensic scientists in the recovery and analysis of skeletal remains and other health care professionals in the assessm...

Accountability in Argentina; 20 Years Later, Transition...

2005International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)

Argentina is undergoing significant changes regarding the investigation and prosecution of human rights violations that occurred from 1976 to 1983, when the country was ruled by a military dictatorship and an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 people “disapp...

Nepali Voices: Perceptions of Truth, Justice, Reconcili...

International Center for Transitional Justice, Occasional Paper, 2008

Various transitional-justice mechanisms were included in Nepal’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in November 2006. The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), together with Advocacy Forum (AF), decided to carry out a study o...

Liberia – War-battered nation launches truth commission

2006IRIN news, UN Office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs,

A report on the implementation of a truth and reconciliation commission the Liberian government has launched, to probe human rights abuses in the past.

Truth Commission: Sierra Leone

2004USIP- United States Institute of Peace

This report is a brief summary of truth commission in Sierra Leone; it provides useful information on conclusions, recommendations and subsequent developments.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Interim ...

2012Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada,

This interim report covers the activities of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada on traumatized Aboriginal people who forcibly were assimilated into the Canadian mainstream by eliminating parental and community involvement in the intell...

The Iran Tribunal Holds Truth Commission In London

Iran Tribunal

The site is intended to be a brief sketch of the method by which an investigation of the gross human rights violations committed by the Islamic Regime of Iran in the 1980’s will take place.

What is a Truth Commission and Why Does it Matter?

2009Peace & Conflict Review, Eric Brahm

There is a growing body of comparative research that seeks to produce empirical evidence and, thereby, contribute to policy debates on the relative merits of truth commissions. However, these efforts have been plagued by a lack of attention to case s...

Why Just Counting the Dead in Syria Won’t Bring Them Ju...

2016Foreign Policy, Patrick Ball

A full tally of the war’s horrific violence requires estimates, models, and sophisticated pattern analysis to understand who’s responsible and why. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions more displaced by this five-years-and-co...

 

Reparation and mental health recovery

Here we have a collection of sites and articles working and reflecting on the topics of and connection between reparation, (mental) health recovery and reconstruction of socioeconomic stability.

Post-conflict Mental Health and the Role of Transitiona...

2022Alvin Kuowei Tay, Zachary Steel

Despite the implementation of transitional justice programs – restorative and retributive – across post-conflict societies worldwide, there is a dearth of studies into their effects on mental health and psychosocial outcomes amongst victi...

Declaration of cooperation – Mental health of ref...

WHO, 2000

Conflicts subject people to frequent and gross human rights violations. This Declaration is intended to serve as a working instrument. It provides a framework to achieve increased consensus and cooperation in operational models, including policy stra...

Community-Based Approaches to Mental Health and Conflic...

2013Amanda Lubit

Post-conflict Libya faces the challenges of establishing a national health system that is capable of addressing mental health needs for a population traumatized by decades of repression and a recent war. In order to recover, traumatized populations r...

Trauma informed restorative justice through community b...

2017Ingabire et al.

Restorative justice, when trauma informed, has a great potential to effectively contribute to sustainable peace in post conflict settings. An evidence based example of a program illustrating such effect is community based sociotherapy in Rwanda. This...

Conflict, Disaster, Homicide – Mental health refo...

Albert K. De Vries, Niek S. Klazinga, 2006

This policy analysis provides insight into the ongoing process of mental health reform and the difficulty of sustaining such reform in post-conflict areas. It is based on experiences in Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo in the former Yugoslavia.

Declaration of Cooperation – Mental health of refugees,...

2001WHO,

This WHO-declaration is intended to serve as a working instrument, providing framework to achieve consensus and cooperation.

Health in Post-conflict and Fragile States

2012Rohini Jonnalagadda Haar and Leonard S. Rubenstein, 2012

The role of health in development and aid policy in conflict-affected and fragile states remains a conundrum. Evidence is increasing that conflict and fragility have a devastating impact on health. At the same time, knowledge on how to construct effe...

Rehabilitation as a form of reparation under Internatio...

Clara Sandoval Villalba, Redress

The Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparations for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law (Basic Principles) further clarify this right. The...

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa...

Debra Kaminer

It has recently been the task of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to expose and document human rights abuses perpetrated under the system of apartheid. As part of the TRC process, many survivors provided testimony in either...

Symbolic closure through memory, reparation and revenge...

Brandon Hamber & Richard Wilson, 2002

Countries going through democratic transition have to address how they will deal with the human rights crimes committed during the authoritarian era. In the context of amnesty for perpetrators, truth commissions have emerged as a standard institution...

Forgiveness and reconciliation: paradise lost or pragma...

Brandon Hamber, 2007

In the past decade there has been an increasing focus on forgiveness and reconciliation in societies coming out of conflict. The concepts were previously the domain of philosophers and theologians but have become integrally linked to questions of pol...

Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Meeting Human Needs for Ju...

2004Wendy Lambourne, United States Institute of Peace

The ending of overt violence via a peace agreement or military victory does not mean the achievement of peace.2 Rather, the ending of violence or a so-called ‘post-conflict’ situation provides “a new set of opportunities that can be grasped or thrown...

Trauma and Transitional Justice in divided Societies

2005Judy Barsalou, United States Institute of Peace

The international community now recognizes that accounting for what happened during the conflict, seeking justice for those who were wronged, and promoting peaceful reconciliation among combatants and their broader societies are among the most import...

Ignoring cries for justice, South Africa fails victims ...

2013ICTJ

The article emphasizes on the important role of government to secure and support the TRC’s recommendations otherwise “survivors lack the means to deal with material and psychological consequences of apartheid violence, and must face enormous hurdles ...

Remembering to Forget: Issues to Consider when Establis...

Brandon Hamber

This paper moves from the premise that when countries are attempting to overcome a violent past it is better to deal with the past through investigation, truth recovery, justice and support for victims or survivors of violence than to ignore it. The ...

Dealing with the Past and the Psychology of Reconciliat...

1995Brandon Hamber,

This article speaks about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) established in South Africa, with the express purpose of facilitating a truth recovery process aimed at reconciling with the past. According to the objectives of the latest draft...

 

Gender, post-conflict communities and transitional justice

It is widely recognized that women often are primary victims of conflict. During war, women are displaced, subjected to sexual violence, and assume the caretaking role for children and the elderly. They return to destroyed communities and begin the process of rebuilding and restoring.

The Role of Women in Stabilization and Reconstruction

United States Institute of Peace

This report summarizes the challenges in supporting women in the process of transitional justice, also focusing on the important role women play here. There are also suggestions how to implement solutions (24 pages, .pdf, for historical reference).

Transitional Justice and Women, Peace and Security: A C...

2017LSE, Almagro,

This working paper has done two things: First, it has offered an overview of the EU Policy Framework on support to transitional justice and its understanding of gender justice. Second, the paper has demonstrated that the EU has a conservative normati...

Gender and Transitional Justice: A Comparative Study of...

2016McGill University, Lucie George

This thesis analyze the relationships between mechanisms of transitional justice and gender-specific crimes. The work is based on a study of two case studies. The first is South Africa, which, after Apartheid, favoured restorative justice; and whose ...

Transitional Justice, Gender Programming, and the UNSCR...

2016Sirkku K. Hellsten

The article examines the implementation of UNSCR 1325 ‘Women, Peace, and Security’ within the framework of post-colonial feminism. The author argues that in current international development co-operation, there is a need for deeper understanding of t...

ICTJ’s gender justice program

2013Internat. Center for Transitional Justice ICTJ,

Short overview over the project on gender and reparations, ICTJ presents and is holding on with.

Gender, Justice, and Truth Commissions

2006World Bank

Recognizing the differences between women’s and men’s experience during the immediate post-conflict or transitional period, and consequently including the particular needs and abilities of women and men in postconflict reconstruction, is fundamental ...

Truth Commissions and Gender: Principles, Policies, and...

2006Social Science Research Council, SSRC

This book (352 p.) presents an overview over the topic as well as some case-studies (South Africa, Guatemala, Peru, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste). We find examples of “first positive practices of incorporating gender thinking into transitional j...

Truth commissions and gender: A South African case stud...

2009Ayumi Kusafuka, ICTJ

South Africa´s gendered past was never substantially addressed by the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) despite attempts by women’s groups to ensure its inclusion

On the issues: Women, Conflict and Peacebuilding

United States Institute of Peace USIP

Presentation of some programs and funds USIP is taking care of. The institute strives to encourage more practice and scholarly work on women, and seeks to deepen understanding of the role of women in conflict and Peace

 

Children, post-conflict communities and transitional justice

Children and adolescents contribute a tremendous pool of capacity, energy, ideas and creativity, and as countries emerge from societal or political violence, that vital human resource is urgently needed.

Children and Transitional Justice

2010UNICEF, Innocenti Resource Center,

This website provides a great overview on this topic, with links highlighting all the different challenges when trying to address human rights violations especially in children. Target group: mostly professionals working on this subject, but also int...

Children and transitional justice – Truth-Telling...

2010UNICEF

The damage to the lives of children caused by the worst impacts of armed conflict cannot be fully repaired, but much has been done to protect children and enable them to better protect themselves.

Youth Engagement

ICTJ

ICTJ engages with young people as political actors in their own right, helping them shape the futures of their communities. We open up spaces for them to actively participate in transitional justice processes and give voice to their perspectives. The...

Transitional Justice and Youth Formerly Associated with...

2010T.S. Betancourta and A. Ettienb

To support true healing of war-affected populations, including children formerly associated with armed forces and armed groups, transitional justice efforts must attend to the often lasting psychosocial consequences of war in the post-conflict enviro...

Engaging Children and Youth in Transitional Justice

2001UNICEF, National Forum for Human Rights, UNAMSIL/Human Rights

Children and youth are among the most vulnerable groups affected by violence in armed conflict or massive abuses of repressive regimes. If breaches of basic human rights become the norm, they are left acutely vulnerable to physical harm, psychologica...

Children and The Truth and Reconciliation Commission fo...

2001UNICEF Mann and Theuermann

Recommendations for policies and procedures for addressing and involving children in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

 

Evaluation of transitional justice

The origins of Transitional Justice dating back to the post World War II period (International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg), these approaches are in the meantime clearly determined by international human rights law.

Failing Victims? The Limits of Transitional Justice in ...

2017Simon Robins,

Transitional justice represents itself as both a discourse and practice that exists primarily to support victims of human rights violations and gains its moral legitimacy from the fact that victims are deserving and the claim that transitional justic...

A Comparative Study of World’s Truth Commissions —From ...

2017 Pathak

The objective of this paper is to explore the initiatives and practices of different countries in truth seeking. Many countries during the post-conflict, colonial, slavery, anarchical and cultural genocide periods establish the Truth Commissions to r...

Can Truth Commissions Strengthen Peace Processes?

2013Eduardo González , Elena Naughton, Félix Reátegui,

The organizers had grappled with what seemed like a singular paradox. Several truth commissions had been created after armed conflicts, with a growing tendency towards uniformity in their mandates. At the same time, knowledge of the challenges faced ...

Uncovering the Truth: Examining Truth Commission Succes...

2007Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm,

While there is growing interest in examining what long-term impact truth commissions have on society, our understanding has been hampered by a number of empirical problems. Specifically, most studies focus on a small biased subsample of cases, rely o...

Victims’ Perspectives about the Human Rights Violations...

2005Ruth Picker,

The aim of this study was to explore the experience of victims who testified at the public hearings of the Human Rights Violations Committee, their evaluation of their participation and its longer-term impact on their lives. It seeks to engage both i...

A comparative study of truth and justice commissions wi...

2011Mbaaro

Having looked at various Truth, Justice and Reconciliation commissions within the commonwealth, the paper will draw attention to key features of the commissions and compare them with the provisions in our TJRC Act and this will be followed by recomme...

Truth, justice, and reconciliation in Africa: Issues an...

2004Graybill and Lanegran

This essay identifies a number of problematic issues concerning transitional justice and restorative justice in particular and suggests that they can be fruitfully explored through thoughtful examination of the truth-seeking projects of this issue’s ...

Truth Commissions: Did the South African Truth and Reco...

2010Abduroaf

The research focuses particularly on the study of the South African Truth Commission. The mandate of the South African Truth Commission is analysed; and the investigation into whether the commission served the purpose for which it had been establishe...

Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: A Review Essay an...

2002Avruch and Vejarano

The purpose of the bibliography that follows is to give students, researchers, and practitioners, many of them new to the field, a sense of the scope of this burgeoning literature and, by consulting the annotations attached to many of the more influe...

Understanding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission f...

2000Brandon Hamber, Dineo Nageng, Gabriel O’Malley,

The article focuses on survivors’ perspectives of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). It probes their feelings, thoughts and views both before and after interacting with the Commission. Their feelings and opinions about issues such as just...

 

Organisations and sites

Some useful links to organisations and sites distributing information on Post Conflict Communities and Transitional Justice.

REDRESS

REDRESS helps torture survivors obtain justice and reparation. Reparation (including rehabilitation and compensation) plays an important part in the rebuilding of the lives of those who have suffered torture. Seeking legal redress also helps to comba...

The International Criminal Court

The Court is participating in a global fight to end impunity, and through international criminal justice, the Court aims to hold those responsible accountable for their crimes and to help prevent these crimes from happening again. The Court cannot re...

United States Institute of Peace

USIP provides with lots of information not only on transitional justice, but also on different other related topics.

International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)

Transitional justice is a response to systematic or widespread violations of human rights. It seeks recognition for victims and to promote possibilities for peace, reconciliation and democracy. Transitional justice is not a special form of justice bu...

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights

This Court is located in Costa Rica, an autonomous judicial institution of the Organization of American States, established in 1979.

Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CS...

The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) is a multi-disciplinary South African non-governmental organisation. Since its inception in 1989, the CSVR has been dedicated to making a meaningful contribution to peaceful and fundament...

The Transitional Justice Institute / University of Ulst...

A leading center in developing the field of transitional justice, the study of law in societies emerging from conflict.

Transicional Justice Observatory

Compilation of different cases of transitional justice processes undertaken by states that have undergone an armed conflict and aim at building peace while demanding accountability from those responsible for human rights violations committed in the p...

Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO)

TPO Cambodia is a Cambodian NGO that works in the field of mental health and psychosocial interventions. It is TPO’s mission “to support those who are unable to care for themselves due to mental illness, poverty and lack of support by developing prog...

Human rights data analysis group HRDAG

A non-profit, non-partisan organization that applies rigorous science to the analysis of human rights violations around the world. A non-partisan—but do not take sides in political or military conflicts, nor do they advocate any particular political ...

International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP)

ICMP ensures the cooperation of governments and others in addressing the issue of missing persons, including provisions to build institutional capacity, encourage public involvement and address the needs of justice and provides technical assistance t...