Dates and venue : October 1 to 5, 2018 in Barcelona

The notion of prevention is a major priority in the current global policy agenda. In 2016, the UN General Assembly and the Security Council issued twin resolutions on sustaining peace, emphasizing the need to prevent conflict rather than react to it. In 2018, the UN Secretary General released a report on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, and the UN and World Bank published a major study on preventing violent conflict. In 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals included in Goal 16 on peaceful, just, and inclusive societies the targets of reducing all forms of violence, including violence and torture against children; reducing corruption; and developing effective, accountable, and transparent institutions.

Transitional justice challenges the causes and addresses the consequences of massive human rights violations by affirming the dignity of victims, fighting impunity for those responsible, promoting responsive institutions, and fostering social, political, institutional, and legal reforms to rebuild social trust and social cohesion. It is aimed at breaking cycles of abuse and laying the foundations for peace, justice, and inclusion. Given both the propensity for massive human rights violations to be committed during violent conflict, and the frequency with which violent conflicts recur, it is crucial for practitioners and policymakers to better understand the role that transitional justice can play in preventing such recurrence.

While guaranteeing the non-recurrence of rights violations is a long-established aim of transitional justice, preventing the recurrence of violent conflict more broadly by addressing past injustice is less understood and more contested. This course will examine how transitional justice can contribute to preventing the recurrence of violent conflict. It will ask a series of questions aimed at unpacking the concept of prevention and exploring its relationship to transitional justice:

  • How can transitional justice help to prevent the recurrence of human rights violations, violent conflict, violent extremism, genocide, gender-based violence, displacement, and corruption?
  • What are the specific pathways of change—such as removing actors, building/reforming institutions, repairing social relations, increasing trust, addressing root causes, facilitating durable solutions, changing norms—through which addressing the legacies of the past contributes to a more peaceful future?
  • What roles do different actors such as the state, civil society, donors, and international organizations play in using justice processes to avoid the return of violence and abuse?
  • How do contextual conditions—institutional, political, economic, and cultural—limit or facilitate the effectiveness of transitional justice as an approach to prevention?
  • How should measures of accountability, redress, and reform be conceptualized and designed in the aftermath of armed conflict with an eye to averting further violence?

The course will look at practical examples of current, past, and paradigmatic transitional justice processes and their contribution to prevention. Country case studies to be discussed may include Kenya, Sierra Leone, South Africa, the former Yugoslavia, and Latin American cases.

Objective:  The aim is to provide course participants with a firm grounding in transitional justice efforts and insight into the challenges and opportunities of helping to avoid the recurrence of violent conflict.

Organized by: The Barcelona International Peace Center (BIPC) jointly with the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)

More information

Full course description and fees

Online Application Form

Application Form (Word doc ©)

Related links

International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)