What is Transitional Justice?
Transitional justice refers to a range of approaches that societies undertake to reckon with legacies of widespread or systematic human rights abuse as they move from a period of violent conflict or oppression towards peace, democracy, the rule of law, and respect for individual and collective rights.
In making such a transition, societies must confront the painful legacy, or burden, of the past in order to achieve a holistic sense of justice for all citizens, to establish or renew civic trust, to reconcile people and communities, and to prevent future abuses. A variety of approaches to transitional justice are available that can help wounded societies start anew.
These approaches are both judicial and nonjudicial, and they seek to encompass broadly the various dimensions of justice that can heal wounds and contribute to social reconstruction. Transitional justice incorporates a realistic view of the challenges faced by societies emerging from conflict or repression, and an appreciation of their unique cultural and historical contexts, without allowing these realities to serve as excuses for inaction. All stakeholders in the transition process must be consulted and participate in the design and implementation of transitional justice policies.
The approaches to transitional justice are based on a fundamental belief in universal human rights, and rely on international human rights and humanitarian law in demanding that states halt, investigate, punish, repair, and prevent abuses. Transitional justice approaches consistently focus on the rights and needs of victims and their families.
The major approaches to transitional justice include the following:
Domestic, hybrid, and international prosecutions of perpetrators of human rights abuse
Determining the full extent and nature of past abuses through truth-telling initiatives, including national and international commissions
Providing reparations to victims of human rights violations, including compensatory, restitutionary, rehabilitative, and symbolic reparations
Institutional reform, of which one measure is the vetting of abusive, corrupt, or incompetent officials from the police and security services, the military, and other public institutions including the judiciary. Vetting refers to the process of excluding from public employment those known to have committed human rights abuses or been involved in corrupt practices.
Promoting reconciliation within divided communities, including working with victims on traditional justice mechanisms and forging social reconstruction
Constructing memorials and museums to preserve the memory of the past
Taking into account gendered patterns of abuse to enhance justice for female victims.
The ICTJ Essentials Course Tokyo
The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) is pleased to announce the Tokyo-based Essentials Course: a 3-day intensive course on transitional justice. The course will focus on a range of topics including prosecution mechanisms, truth commissions, reparations programs, vetting mechanisms, and reconciliation initiatives. To substantiate these theoretical concepts, the course will use various case studies from all over the world to specifically discuss relevant elements to the Asian region.
The course will cover the essential themes, mechanisms, and case studies in the field of transitional justice. The course will focus on a range of topics including prosecution mechanisms, truth commissions, reparations programs, vetting mechanisms, and reconciliation initiatives. It will also explore the intersection between efforts to achieve justice and accountability, and negotiations to ensure sustainable peace. The course uses various case studies from all over the world and encourages participants to discuss relevant elements to the Asian region.
The course aims to equip busy professionals with the knowledge required to conceive and implement transitional justice policies and programs that are in line with international best practices. The program is primarily targeted at mid-level and senior staff of multilateral agencies, governments, NGOs, foundations, and universities who wish to undertake an intensive course on cutting-edge developments in this important and expanding field.
Dates, Location & Cost
The course will be held from December 8-10, 2006.
This course will be taught in English. Graduates will receive a Certificate of Completion.
The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)