Our approach to transitional justice and constitution building

A transitional justice approach guided by the EU Policy Framework on Support to Transitional Justice.

The Facility’s approach to transitional justice is guided by the EU Policy Framework on Support to Transitional Justice. It describes transitional justice as «the full range of processes and mechanisms associated with a society’s attempts to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses, in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation. These may include both judicial and non-judicial mechanisms, with differing levels of international involvement (or none at all) and individual prosecution, reparations, truth-seeking, institutional reform, vetting and dismissals, or a combination thereof”. It incorporates the four essential elements of transitional justice, namely: criminal accountability, truth seeking, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence, including institutional reform.

The EU policy framework puts a strong emphasis on the need for locally owned processes which are victim centered, inclusive and gender sensitive. It provides a comprehensive basis for EU action on transitional justice.

Five key objectives of the EU Policy Framework on Support to Transitional Justice

Ending impunity
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Providing recognition and redress to victims
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Fostering trust
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Strengthening the rule of law
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Contribution to reconciliation
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Our approach to constitution building

Constitution-building combines legal, political and social aspects of state transformation, often in contexts of post-conflict transition and democratic consolidation. Constitutions are increasingly tools for transitional justice and conflict management through, inter alia, reallocation of powers and (re)structuring the state, facilitating internal self-determination, recognizing identities, strengthening separation of powers and judicial independence, and protecting fundamental rights. In conflict-affected societies, parameters for constitutional reform and participation are often set during peace processes—though often with limited recognition that constitution making has begun.

Different transitional justice mechanisms are intrinsically related to each other, and constitution building is closely linked with transitional justice. In the holistic approach promoted by the EU, these processes are all embedded into wider crisis response, conflict prevention, post-conflict recovery, security, and development efforts.

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