Information

2-4 April 2019
Application start 19 October 2018
Application end 18 March 2019
Fee: 1150 Swiss Francs

Downloads

Flyer >
Programme >

Confronting the Truth: The Functions, Practices and Challenges of Truth Commissions

Peru, Huancasancos. Vigil and burial ceremonies for the victims of the conflict whose remains were finally restituted to their families after 30 years of disappearance. Peru, Huancasancos. Vigil and burial ceremonies for the victims of the conflict whose remains were finally restituted to their families after 30 years of disappearance.

Truth Commissions are by now an integral part of the transitional justice vocabulary and practice.

In countries as varied as Peru, South Africa, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Kenya and Brazil, truth commissions have been set up to investigate the patterns of past human rights violations.

The 2019 Spring School will provide a comprehensive, multidimensional and practical examination of this transitional justice mechanism, shedding light on both its aims and the practical challenges it has met or is likely to meet.

In engaging with these issues, the Spring School will address practically relevant questions about why to set up a truth commission and what role such an institution may play in addressing serious individually and collectively suffered wrongdoing. At the same time, the Spring School will directly engage with relevant questions about how to set up a truth commission, when and by whom.

Structure and Methodology

With the aim of linking theory with practical perspectives, the 2019 Spring School will combine interactive lectures on truth commissions and the relevant normative frameworks with practical exercises which will allow students to reflect on the aims and processes of truth commissions via an active and sustainable learning experience.

On the basis of a hypothetical case scenario, students will have to design and formulate the mandate of a ‘moot’ truth commission. Based on group work and with expert support, they will simulate roles in the advisory and drafting processes leading to the establishment of a truth commission.

Howard Varney, a leading expert on truth commissions and Senior Programme Advisor at the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) will be present throughout the entire Spring School, delivering the courses, sharing his field experience, guiding discussions and managing the practical exercise. He will be supported by a team of the Master of Advanced Study in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ).

 Objectives

At the end of the Spring School, students will have gained insight into:

  • The role of truth-seeking in transitional justice processes
  • Normative frameworks and practices relevant to truth commissions
  • Practical challenges faced in the process of establishing truth commissions
  • The contribution of different actors and perspectives in shaping the mandate of a truth commission
  • The importance of creatively adapting theoretical concepts to particular societal contexts
  • The challenges in drafting detailed terms of reference to provide appropriate guidance for the work of a truth commission
  • Group-based processes of argumentation and negotiation leading to some common position on particular aspects relevant to the work of truth commission.

Audience

The Transitional Justice Spring School forms part of the MTJ. It is open to external participants – diplomats, lawyers, legal advisers, judges, NGO staff, human rights advocates, media specialists, UN staff and staff from other international organizations, and academics and students interested in the topic – who are not enrolled in the MTJ and who want to deepen their expertise in functions setting-up, practice and challenges of truth commissions.

Certification

Participants obtain a certificate at the end of the Spring School (no ECTS credits).

Fee

The fee for attending the 2019 Transitional Justice Spring School is 1,150 Swiss Francs.

The fee includes tuition costs, course materials, lunch, refreshments during coffee breaks and the evening cocktail at the end of the Spring School.

The fee is payable as soon as your place has been confirmed.

Places are limited. Please note that participation can only be secured through the payment of the fee.

All participants are responsible for their own travel costs to Geneva, including Swiss visa fees and evening meals (approximately 30 Swiss Francs per meal).

Accommodation

Participants may request on-campus accommodation when applying. Due to the limited places available, accommodation is not guaranteed. Participants seeking on-campus accommodation are encouraged to request this as soon as possible.

How to Apply

Applications for the Transitional Justice Spring School must be submitted via this online form. If you encounter problems with your application, do not hesitate to contact us.

Your application will need to include:

  • A short motivation letter (no more than one page)
  • Your curriculum vitae
  • Proof of your competence in English (a certificate or statement highlighting your solid background in English)
  • A valid copy of your visa or residence permit (only applicants who require a visa to enter the Schengen area).

Once admitted to the spring school, participants receive instructions on how to pay. Proof of payment is required before you begin the spring school.

Professors and Lecturers

Picture of Frank Haldemann

Frank Haldemann

Co-Director of the Master in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Frank Haldemann's expertise and research focus on transitional justice, human rights and legal philosophy.

Picture of Thomas Unger

Thomas Unger

Co-Director of the Master in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Thomas Unger has more than 15 year of expertise in the field of transitional justice, notably as the former Senior Adviser to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.

Portrait of Howard Varney

Howard Varney

Practicing Advocate at the Johannesburg Bar and Senior Programme Adviser at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)

Howard Varney's areas of expertise include investigations, prosecutions, institutional reform and reparations.

Portrait of Tafadzwa Christmas

Tafadzwa Christmas

Teaching Assistant

His research explores the jurisprudential and operational parameters of the right to truth in Africa as seen through an international human rights law lens.

Picture of Firouzeh Mitchell

Firouzeh Mitchell

Teaching Assistant

Firouzeh Mitchell is a Teaching Assistant at the Geneva Academy. Her research focuses on transitional justice, counter-terrorism, and non-state actors.

Location

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, 120B Rue de Lausanne, Geneva

Access

Public Transport

Tram 15, tram stop Butini

Bus 1 or 25, bus stop Sécheron

Access for People with Disabilities

Villa Moynier is accessible to people with disabilities. If you have a disability or any additional needs and require assistance in order to participate fully, please email info[at]geneva-academy.ch

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Keywords related to students' master's papers News

Students Address Current Challenges in IHL, Human Rights and Transitional Justice in their Master's Papers

24 September 2018

Students of our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law discussed key issues and challenges in their master's paper.

Read more

Group photo of Master in Transitional Justice's students during their study trip to Nuremberg News

Master in Transitional Justice: Study Trip to Nuremberg

16 March 2017

The second term of the Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law started with a very special occasion: a study trip to Nuremberg. A key site for thinking about transitional justice as a contemporary response to mass atrocity.

Read more

 Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. 22 June 1990 Event

Nelson Mandela Human Rights Lecture

18 July 2019, 18:00-19:30

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Albie Sachs, Former Judge of the South African Constitutional Court, will reflect on the current human rights challenges and how to move the human rights agenda forward.

Read more

A woman working in a laboratory in a orchid farm Event

Integrating a Gender Perspective in Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: From Guidance to Implementation

27 June 2019, 13:00-14:00

In this panel discussion, representatives from states, businesses and civil society will share their views and responses on the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights’ Gender Framework and Guidance.

Read more

A general view of participants during of the 33nd ordinary session of the Human Rights Council. Training

The Universal Periodic Review and the UN Human Rights System: Raising the Bar on Accountability

30 September - 4 October 2019

This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.

Read more

Peru, Lima. Anti-riot policemen during a demonstration. Project

Use of Force, Crowd Control and Peaceful Protests

Started in January 2015

This research project aims at addressing the challenges – legal and law enforcement – encountered during the management of assemblies and at filling the protection gaps by developing new standards and useful tools.

Read more

U.S. Ambassador Keith Harper, after the presentation of the report to the Human Rights Council September 27 by independent experts: Mr. Pablo de Greiff, Mr. Christof Heyns, Ms. Maya Sahli-Fadel. Project

Support to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence

Completed in January 2012

From 2012 to 2015 the Geneva Academy hosted the Adviser to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence Pablo de Greiff.

Read more

How We Work

Our teaching enables specialists to apply legal frameworks to complex situations and challenging processes.

Read more

Executive Education

We provide training and short courses for professionals who want to deepen their expertise in a specific issue.

Read more

Research

Our research examines issues that are under-explored, need clarification, or are unconventional, experimental or challenging.

Read more

Events

Our events provide a critical and scholarly forum for experts and practitioners to debate topical humanitarian, human rights and transitional justice issues.

Read more