Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement

Transitional Justice and Displacement

Salomon Lerner, the president of Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (L) gives a copy of the report to Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo. (Reuters/Pilar Olivares) 

Above Photo: (Reuters/Olivares- Salomon Lerner, the president of Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (L) gives a copy of the report to Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, after the nine-volume report was released at the government palace in Lima, August 28, 2003. The commission's report was based on two years of investigations into human rights violations between 1980 and 2000, with testimony from nearly 17,000 individuals.)

Transitional justice measures such as trials, truth commissions and compensation have been used in countries around the world to redress the legacies of violent conflict and widespread human rights violations, which often trigger large-scale displacement. However, little attention has been paid to how these mechanisms address displacement as a human rights concern, and engage refugees and internally displaced persons as key stakeholders.

From 2010-2012, the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement and the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) collaborated on a groundbreaking research project focusing on the relationship between transitional justice and displacement. Involving researchers and practitioners from five continents spread among six working groups (criminal justice, gender justice, reparations, restitution, justice-sensitive security sector reform and truth-telling), this project explored the ways in which transitional justice processes can address forced migration, involve refugees and IDPs, and support durable solutions to displacement. The results of this project suggest that transitional justice may be an important part of effective responses to forced migration. At the same time, incorporating displacement as a critical human rights concern may strengthen transitional justice initiatives.

The outputs of this two-year partnership include an edited volume, Transitional Justice and Displacement, a series of case studies, a special issue of the Journal of Refugee Studies and a project report, Transitional Justice and Displacement: Challenges and Recommendations, which highlights key findings and insights for policymakers and practitioners. In addition, the Brookings-LSE Project and ICTJ have collaborated on a number of launch events, including one in New York City and one in Washington DC, to disseminate the results of this work.