Supporting transitional justice
Transitional justice describes a range of strategies, including criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, victim reparations and institutional reforms, that promote accountability, reconciliation and, ultimately, peace in response to a period of serious human rights violations. The crisis in Mali led to a rapid deterioration in human rights situation, with reports of human rights abuses committed by rebel groups and the Malian army. These violations exacerbated inter-community divisions and further undermined respect for the rule of law. With the end of hostilities in northern Mali, the Malian government is now tasked with crafting transitional justice policies that reflect the needs of victims, facilitate the implementation of the government’s pledge to pursue national reconciliation and reestablish respect for the rule of law in the country.
Since June 2013, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) has partnered with Freedom House to support Malian civil society organizations as they participate in the design and implementation of the country’s transitional justice strategy. With funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, ABA ROLI is convening a civil society coalition to advocate for a victim-centric transitional-justice process. The coalition, which at its launch in November 2013 had about 20 signatory organizations, is focusing its work on three themes: meeting the needs of victims; combatting impunity; and uncovering the truth about past violations. ABA ROLI is assisting the coalition to formulate and advocate for policies that support a victim-centric approach to transitional justice, while Freedom House is training members of civil society organizations on documentation of human-rights violations.