Transitional justice is on the international agenda in post-conflict and post-repression settings. The tasks of promoting justice, compensation, and reconciliation after conflict are challenging and can take many years to achieve. Systematic abuses of human rights that are not adequately addressed are a source of social unrest and often contribute to renewed violence. Truth-seeking initiatives can play a powerful role in documenting and acknowledging human rights violations. Memorialisation as an often neglected aspect in the consolidation of transitional justice.
Memory initiatives also contribute to the public understanding of past abuses. In the aftermath of a devastating conflict or a repressive regime, knowing the truth about the past is more than just an important step toward justice, it is a recognized human right to which all victims and survivors of armed conflict and repression are entitled.
In 2021, Dominic Ongwen was found guilty before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. His trial has marked the first ICC case in which an inductee was charged with the same crimes as those done to him. And it – once again – raised important questions for post-conflict recovery. How do states and their people move forward from conflict while respecting the needs of victims of conflict for justice? Questions of amnesty have arisen in global peace negotiations as mediators try to balance the immediate need to defuse actors with the long-term needs of societies and people for justice. Who has the power to make these decisions and what role do international stakeholders play? In a world where women are often left out of peace negotiations, how do we ensure their rights are protected? Are men looking for peace, while women are still waiting for justice?