Research Handbook on Transitional Justice
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Research Handbook on Transitional Justice

Edited by Cheryl Lawther, Luke Moffett and Dov Jacobs

Providing detailed and comprehensive coverage of the transitional justice field, this Research Handbook brings together leading scholars and practitioners to explore how societies deal with mass atrocities after periods of dictatorship or conflict. Situating the development of transitional justice in its historical context, social and political context, it analyses the legal instruments that have emerged.
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Chapter 10: The role of international NGOs in the emergence of transitional justice: A case study of the International Center for Transitional Justice

Sara Dezalay


Existing literature largely focuses on providing histories of the emergence of transitional justice through the issues that define transitional justice. Rarely do studies analyze the role of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the emergence and development of the field. This chapter contributes to filling this gap by providing an account of the genesis and early development of a key non-governmental actor in the field, the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). Based on a qualitative methodology (foremost biographical interviews with a number of key actors of the organization), it recounts the dynamics that led to the ICTJ’s creation in 2001. The model of the ICTJ as an NGO providing both policy orientations and practical projects emerged out of the laboratories of the Latin American and South African transitions. This chapter also explains the success of the ICTJ in positioning itself as a ‘gate-keeper’ within the field of transitional justice: the combination of resources of the organization (legal, political, academic) has enabled it to straddle adjacent fields – human rights but also peacebuilding and conflict resolution – and constantly expand the boundaries of the field of transitional justice. International NGO’s; International Centre for Transitional Justice; advocacy; operations

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