Consider long-term engagement
Key Finding: The strongest engagements with a TJ process have been those that foresee a long-term commitment and respond appropriately to evolving civil society needs.
Overcoming cycles of conflict and atrocity, or building rights-respecting state institutions, takes time and may suffer political setbacks. TJ processes require long-term commitments: documentation of mass crimes needs to be gathered or reconstructed; trials for massive human rights violations take years to complete complex investigations; support for victims, especially those with lingering health and psychological effects, spans decades; reparations are sometimes multigenerational; victims take a long time to come forward; and judicial and social services often have to be (re)built.
"No one is interested in this anymore. Not the donors, not the international community, and definitely not the government here. It's been twenty years since the war, they think, 'How long can trauma last for?' They don't realize that the legacy of violence lasts a long time, and it leaves its impact everywhere in people's lives."
In spite of these long-term needs, donor agendas, sometimes set in capitals, may shift and leave civil society actors without support at crucial moments, or the wrong type of support/funds at the wrong times. One-year funding cycles in particular are enemies of the sustainability and predictability that is needed to support long-term change. TJ road maps developed during national consultation processes should give at least a preliminary sense for how donors can offer relevant multiyear support. Moreover, TJ should be included in long-term development strategies.
Because TJ processes are multigenerational and progress can slow or face reversals, “donor fatigue” frequently sets in. There are cases when donors have withdrawn all TJ funding—to both state and civil society actors—when the state shows a lack of commitment. This, however, is precisely the moment when civil society action is often most critical to keep pressure on the state to fulfill its responsibilities.