Supporting transitional justice

 Women call for peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Women call for peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Eskinder Debebe, UN Photo

Following large-scale violence, conflict, or political upheaval societies must be enabled to address past grievances and serious human rights abuses. Nationally led transitional justice processes contribute to atonement for past violence and human rights violations and can facilitate state accountability.  These practices strengthen trust, establish the conditions for peace and democratic governance, and help societies guard against a relapse into systematic discrimination or violence. National justice institutions can also be strengthened when authorities are enabled to prosecute those acts criminalized in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. These efforts can be part of broader initiatives to improve criminal justice, all of which are critical to sustaining peace and curbing violence. Additionally, reparations can aid the reconciliation process by acknowledging victims’ suffering and making amends for past mistreatment.

To support redress for past violence and human rights violations and to enable societies to recover from the legacy of violence, UNDP supports dialogue processes and provides advice to governments and communities on measures of transitional justice, including establishing truth commissions and prosecuting conflict-related crimes.

Enabling reparations for victims of grave human rights abuses, especially for those often identified as vulnerable (e.g. women, minority groups, or impoverished communities) is a major facet of UNDP’s transitional justice support. UNDP also works to ensure that victims of conflict have a voice within transitional justice and political processes, which is an important component of dealing with the legacy of violence. This work aligns to the UNDP Strategic Plan (2014-2017), which emphasizes enabling the capacity of rule of law institutions to provided redress and ensure that victims’ grievances are addressed within transitional justice processes.

As part of these efforts, UNDP works with other UN partners, namely the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights. UNDP also maintains a strong partnership with the International Center for Transitional Justice, particularly in the area of complementarity.