Transitional Justice in Countries Emerging from Conflict: A Step Toward Sustainable Peace and Development
A recent post by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) looks at the role transitional justice processes can play in the SDGs and prevention. It argues that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), unlike their predecesspr the MDGs, focus on achieving peace and justice by prioritizing sustainable peace and development. An important aspect of this is transitional justice, which helps a society to move from a condition where rights were massively violated to one where rights are generally respected by addressing the crimes of the past and their consequences. Tranisitonal justice and the SDGs are therefore linked, particulalry through Goal 16, which calls for the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies; providing access to justice for all; and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
In countries that have experienced systematic human rights violations or atrocities, progress in attaining peace and development is likely to be more sustainable if societies pursue justice for those violations.
In this context, transitional justice can:
- encourage respect for the rule of law
- provide access to justice
- reform of institutions
- reducing the recurrence of violent conflict more broadly, including violent extremism
- help reduce illicit financial flows and corruption
To achieve these goals, transitional justice should avoid a narrow focus on physical integrity crimes and include an examination of violations of economic and social rights. Transitional justice mechanisms must not discriminate against certain groups or be perceived as victor’s justice. Finally, these mechanisms should not be overly legalistic, technical and apolitical, which would risk leaving unaddressed the structures and grievances that led to conflict and atrocities in the first place.