Why fund TJ?

TJ is a key part of democratization, development, and peacebuilding processes, during which core relationships between the state and society are strengthened or rebuilt; indeed, the World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report recognizes these links.

Civil Society Roles

What is TJ?

TJ includes a range of initiatives that states and societies take in order to address past systematic or massive human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law. It is not just criminal justice, although it is often conflated with prosecutions. These initiatives have been enshrined in international legal frameworks, and they include:
  • The right to justice, meaning access to equal and effective justice, and including prosecutions of those most responsible for human rights abuse.
  • The right to reparation, often through state-run programs that recognize victims of human rights abuse and offer a range of remedies, e.g., cash payments, medical or psychological care, official apologies, memorials, etc.
  • The right to truth, including state-led truth commissions, work with government archives, and finding missing persons; shedding light on facts that responsible state and nonstate actors may try to hide; offering victims a platform to be recognized, share their experiences, and engage as citizens.
  • Guarantees of nonrecurrence, which often include specific reforms to the institutions that perpetrated the abuse, usually including vetting of the security forces for human rights abusers, among other actions and reforms.
It is worth noting that there are other ways to refer to TJ, such as “dealing with the past.” TJ may not always be the preferred term in every context.

Goals of TJ

International norms have identified a number of goals for TJ initiatives, alongside specific, country-related objectives. These broader goals include:
  • Promote accountability for past human rights abuse
  • Foster trust in state institutions
  • Enhance long-term reconciliation and support peace processes
  • Recognize victims, especially as bearers of rights

Focus on civil society actors

This guidance focuses on support to civil society engagement with TJ. It is well known that donors and multilateral institutions have expanded their focus (and funding) to civil society actors over the past twenty to thirty years. 2 Yet this shift does not appear to be reflected in funding to TJ. Although building (or rebuilding) a fragmented and mistrustful civil society in the wake of repression or conflict is important to democratization, development, and peacebuilding efforts, funding for TJ often is directed to institutions and state actors—not civil society. This is in spite of the fact that civil society actors play essential roles in any TJ process, which we describe below. Our guidance is therefore designed to offer advice on how donors may better integrate civil society actors into their TJ funding strategies.

Which donors are engaging in the TJ field?

TJ is supported globally by a wide range of bilateral and multilateral donors (as well as private foundations). Among bilaterals, key donors are the United States (principally through its support for hybrid and international tribunals), the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Canada, and Switzerland. Others who have funded some TJ work include Spain, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Austria, France, and Japan. On the multilateral side, since 2004, the United Nations has been developing an approach to TJ, culminating in a Guidance Note of the Secretary-General (2010), and the creation of a Special Rapporteur position (2012). The European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) are also drafting TJ policies, and the EU is a major donor. Within the UN system, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN Development Program (UNDP), the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), and UN Women are all key actors. Many of these agencies work directly on TJ-related issues—to give one example for each, OHCHR in Tunisia, UNDP in Guatemala, the PBF in Sierra Leone, and UN Women in Colombia.