Students Design the Mandate of a Truth Commission to Address Past Human Rights Abuses

Students during the 2019 Spring School Students during the 2019 Spring School

21 May 2019

During three days, students of our Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ) immersed, via a practical exercise and in the context of the 2019 Spring School, in the design and establishment of a truth commission to address past human rights abuses.

Under the guidance of Howard Varney, a leading expert on the issue, they took up the roles of different stakeholders – including international and local NGOs, the United Nations and the African Union and the national government – involved in the process of designing and formulating the mandate of a truth commission in the context of a post-conflict truth-telling process involving local, regional, nationals and international actors.

‘Students had to work on a complex fictive scenario that involved a multitude of human rights violations committed by state and non-state actors in the context of a prolonged ethnic conflict ’ explains Frank Haldemann, Co-Director of the MTJ.

2019 Transitional Justice Spring School Moot Courts Design

Putting the Theory into Practice

The Spring School provided an opportunity for students to work productively together during three days, share rich experiences and knowledge, and gain a more practical perspective of truth commissions as a central transitional justice ‘mechanism’.

‘During three days, students learnt to ‘apply’ their theoretical knowledge of truth commissions to a practical case by working in groups on very concrete problems relevant to truth commissions’ mandates and by adopting various actors’ perspectives’ underlines Thomas Unger, Co-Director of the MTJ.

‘We were impressed by the great team spirit and motivation, as well as by the high level of argumentation and engagement of the participants’ he adds.

2019 Transitional Justice Spring School Moot Courts Group Photo

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