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The International Center for Transitional Justice ( ICTJ) was founded in 2001 as a non-profit organization dedicated to pursuing accountability for mass atrocity and human rights abuse through transitional justice mechanisms.

Mission Statement

The International Center for Transitional Justice assists countries pursuing accountability for past mass atrocity or human rights abuse. ICTJ works in societies emerging from repressive rule or armed conflict, as well as in established democracies where historical injustices or systematic abuse remain unresolved.

Governments and others seeking to promote justice, peace and reconciliation are likely to consider a variety of responses to human rights crimes. ICTJ assists in the development of integrated, comprehensive and localized approaches to transitional justice, focusing on seven key elements: prosecutions, truth-seeking, institutional reform, gender justice, reparations, peace and justice, and memorials.

ICTJ is committed to building local capacity and strengthening the emerging field of transitional justice, and works with partner organizations and experts around the world. ICTJ provides comparative information, legal and policy analysis, documentation and strategic research to justice and truth-seeking institutions, civil society, governments and others.


While human rights organizations have traditionally focused on documenting violations and lobbying against abuse, the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) was founded on the concept of a new direction in human rights advocacy: helping societies to heal by accounting for and addressing past crimes after a period of repressive rule or armed conflict.

ICTJ was first conceived at a strategy meeting hosted by the Ford Foundation in April 2000. More than two dozen participants, including legal scholars, as well as human rights advocates and practitioners, gathered to discuss ways of contributing to the rapidly emerging field of transitional justice.

The participants expressed broad support for the establishment of an organization focusing on transitional justice. The Foundation subsequently asked three consultants—Alex Boraine, Priscilla Hayner and Paul van Zyl—to develop a plan for such an organization. Their initial five-year proposal received funding support from the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Andrus Family Fund.

ICTJ officially opened its doors in New York Citymarker on March 1, 2001, and within six months was operating in more than a dozen countries, as requests for assistance poured in. In 2004 Founding President Alex Boraine returned to South Africa to establish the Center’s Cape Townmarker Office. Offices in Brusselsmarker and Genevamarker followed in 2005. ICTJ currently has offices in New York Citymarker, Bogotámarker, Brusselsmarker, Genevamarker, Monroviamarker, Kinshasamarker, Bujumburamarker, Cape Townmarker, Beirutmarker, Kathmandumarker, Jakartamarker and Dilimarker.

As of December 2008, ICTJ was actively operating in the Americas: Argentinamarker, Brazilmarker, Canadamarker, Chilemarker, Colombiamarker, Ecuadormarker, Guatemalamarker, Mexicomarker, the United Statesmarker ( the Greensboro Project and the U.S. Accountability Project); Africa: Burundimarker, the Democratic Republic of Congomarker, Kenyamarker, Liberiamarker, Sierra Leonemarker, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwemarker; Europe and Central Asia: Afghanistanmarker, Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker, Cyprusmarker, Georgiamarker, Kosovomarker, Serbiamarker, Spainmarker, Turkeymarker; the Middle East and North Africa: Algeriamarker, Bahrainmarker, Lebanonmarker, Iraqmarker, Israelmarker and the Occupied Palestinian Territoriesmarker, Moroccomarker and Western Saharamarker: and Asia: Burmamarker, Cambodiamarker, Indonesiamarker, Nepalmarker, the Solomon Islandsmarker and Timor-Lestemarker.

Thematic Transitional Justice Approaches

Transitional justice is a holistic response to systematic or widespread violations of human rights. Approaches to transitional justice include the following:

Prosecutions: Judicial investigations of those responsible for human rights violations. Prosecutors frequently emphasize investigations of the "big fish": suspects considered most responsible for massive or systematic crimes.

Programs: State-sponsored initiatives that help repair the material and moral damages of past abuse. These typically distribute a mix of material and symbolic benefits to victims, benefits that may include financial compensation and official apologies.

Truth Commissions: Commissions of inquiry whose primary purpose is to investigate and report key periods of recent abuse. They are often official state bodies that make recommendations to remedy such abuse and to prevent its recurrence.

Justice: Efforts to challenge impunity for sexual and gender-based violence and ensure women's equal access to redress of human rights violations.

System Reform: Efforts that seek to transform the military, police, judiciary and related state institutions from instruments of repression and corruption into instruments of public service and integrity.

[308384]: The creation of museums and memorials that preserve public memory of victims and raise moral consciousness about past abuse, in order to build a bulwark against its recurrence.

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