1 December 2021
Transitional justice is a well-established and comprehensive approach to addressing the causes and legacies of massive human rights violations and abuses. By emphasizing the dignity of victims and seeking to break cycles of violence through judicial and non-judicial measures, it represents an important contribution to guaranteeing human rights and sustaining peace. Until now, the topic has rarely been addressed in a counterterrorism (CT) context, although it is relevant and could complement the existing CT framework.
The recently endorsed GCTF Memorandum on Criminal Justice Approaches to the Linkages between Terrorism and Core International Crimes, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Crimes, Human Trafficking, Migrant Smuggling, Slavery, and Crimes against Children notably recommends that States ‘[…] consider transitional justice strategies that will help find the truth, provide reparations, address non-recurrence, and facilitate reconciliation between victim communities and the offenders’.
Against this background, and building on the Memorandum’s recommendations, the Criminal Justice and Rule of Law (CJ-ROL) Working Group, co-chaired by Nigeria and Switzerland, with the support of the Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) Working Group, saw value in discussing the challenges and opportunities of a transitional justice approach to FTFs. An independent study conducted by The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) provided a basis for the discussion.
The fruitful and interactive exchange was framed by a general introduction to the topic of transitional justice, its relevance to foreign terrorist fighters, and a presentation on the findings and recommendations of the study for countries in conflict, for countries of origin, and for the international community. Participants underlined that the issue of FTFs is a complex challenge for security, justice and peace—one that is addressed primarily through CT and preventing violent extremism frameworks. The transnational dimension of this issue requires justice interventions in conflict-affected countries where FTFs travelled to, as well as countries of origin of the individuals. This GCTF activity brought together a range of officials, practitioners, and experts for a thought-provoking discussion on transitional justice strategies.
Related GCTF resources:
Memorandum on Criminal Justice Approaches to the Linkages between Terrorism and Core International Crimes, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Crimes, Human Trafficking, Migrant Smuggling, Slavery, and Crimes against Children | Arabic | French