In Focus

On the International Day of the Disappeared, ICTJ Vice President Paul Seils argues that addressing the legacy of forced disappearances is both a moral imperative and a pragmatic necessity.

This year, to mark the International Day of the Disappeared, we bring the story of Ziad and Ghassan Halwani, two brothers in Lebanon whose father was kidnapped and disappeared when they were young. Their story is a powerful testament to the long-term impact of disappearances on the life course of those who are still growing up.

On August 7, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) found two senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, guilty of crimes against humanity. For many victims who have been waiting for 35 years, the judgment still felt like bittersweet justice.

By this summer, dozens of paramilitaries and guerrillas in Colombia's Justice and Peace process will have already spent eight years in prison. In accordance with the law, those who fulfill their obligations to contribute to the truth and provide reparation to victims should be released after serving eight years. In this op-ed, ICTJ's Maria Camila Moreno analyzes the valuable lessons learned through this process.

Cote d’Ivoire must prioritize effective consultations and ensure meaningful engagement with victims and civil society throughout the country in its efforts to provide reparations to victims of political violence that engulfed the country during the disputed 2010 presidential elections.

In this op-ed, ICTJ Vice President Paul Seils argues that the front line of justice must always be national courts and justice systems. "Citizens must see social institutions at work in their home countries, as it is there that courts can repudiate wrongdoing and reaffirm the most fundamental elements of the contract that binds a society together. It is there that having the dignity of a citizen can have its fullest meaning," writes Seils on International Justice Day.

On International Criminal Justice Day, 2014, ICTJ joins the global celebrations marking the groundbreaking establishment of the Rome Statute in 1998, which created the International Criminal Court (ICC). To mark the day, we review five contexts where national systems proved it was possible to bring perpetrators to justice where it matters the most.

The recent re-election of Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, brings hope to a country seeking to end a half-century of conflict. But, as with so many peace processes, finding a balance between creating a stable accord and acknowledging the terrible injustices that occurred during the conflict can be difficult to achieve.

Tunisia has faced many challenges since the launch of the National Dialogue on Transitional Justice two years ago, including political assassinations that rocked the process as well as a number of political blockages. Yet the Tunisian people came through a complex and challenging process and achieved important results — results that can provide the foundation to confront a long legacy of human rights abuses and pave the way towards a democratic transition built on the rule of law and trust between citizens and the state.

The first online debate hosted by the ICTJ on the role of media in transitional justice has come to a close. The debate aimed to illuminate issues around this complex relationship and was the first in a series ICTJ will host on topics on which there is no consensus in the field.