This session examined the relationship between transitional justice and the prevention of human rights violations, different forms of violence and repression, and violent conflict. It discussed evidence provided by case studies conducted by the International Center for Transitional Justice, on Colombia, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, and Sierra Leone, as well as a pilot study on Germany commissioned by FriEnt.
the contributions that transitional justice can make to prevention, focusing on individual and collective exclusion and associated grievances, root causes of injustice, and the need to facilitate long-term institutional and other types of reform;
the tensions and challenges faced in adopting a preventive approach, such as short-term instability, the need for inclusive processes, and the lack of implementation; and
Main Theses, Thoughts and Ideas
Preventing the recurrence of injustice requires addressing common drivers of injustice such as exclusion and its associated grievances. It also has to adopt a long-term perspective on reform and change.
For TJ to promote prevention, it needs the courage and capacity to deal with the root causes of violence, meaning the social, economic, cultural, and political conditions that contributed to and facilitated human rights violations.
TJ processes could contribute much more in enhancing prevention where there are gradual and progressive changes in the socio-economic and political context that precipitated violence in the first place. Where the context does not change, gains made can be easily lost.
TJ processes can be applied in contexts of ongoing conflicts, but this reinforces two needs: to coordinate justice processes with other policies such as security, DDR, and peace building; and to apply short-, medium-, and long-term strategies linked to broader agendas, such as the Sustainable Development Goals.