Focusing on transitional justice as a sub-field of peacebuilding, the project “Knowledge for Peace” looks at how we generate research and knowledge about peace and its components. We do this to be able to improve synergies between research, policy and practice and ultimately produce better (i.e. reliable, critical, policy relevant and useful) knowledge for peacebuilding.
Our research focuses on transitional justice processes such as truth commissions, prosecutions, reparations, traditional justice, and other processes in three countries: Côte d’Ivoire, South Sudan and Mozambique.
The project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation under the Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d programme). R4d supports research focusing on tackling global problems, particularly in least developed, low- and middle income countries.
Côte d’Ivoire is often identified as being a strong ‘victor’ state with close and mutually beneficial but also challenging relationships with international actors. This case can thus be seen as an interaction between a strong local government and proactive international actors leading to a hybrid form of transitional justice. After more than 10 years of socio‐political crisis (1999‐2011) that culminated in a civil war resulting in more than 3000 deaths and leaving the country deeply divided, Côte d’Ivoire has embarked on a complex process of transitional justice, including for example a Special Inquiry and Investigation Unit, the Commission of Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation and the National Programme for Social Cohesion. Find more information here.
Mozambique is frequently considered a case where there has been no transitional justice process. This impression is mostly shared from an outside perspective and indicates the tendency to only consider and render legitimate those transitional justice processes that are internationally sanctioned. In reality, the population of Mozambique has embarked upon a series of local initiatives in the aftermath of serious human rights violations, especially during the civil war of 1977‐1992. Find more information here.
South Sudan has often been treated as a tabula rasa in terms of its status as a new state. In the aftermath of its establishment as an independent state there was an influx of international organizations to build the capacity of the state in order to provide basic services to its populace. Transitional justice and peacebuilding are strongly influenced by international actors. However, the process did not progress as anticipated. In December 2013, a violent conflict broke out in the capital of Juba which quickly spread to other parts of the country. Massive atrocities were committed in the course of the ongoing fighting which will need to be accounted for. Find more information here.