Violent Extremism and Transitional Justice Webinar

The threat of violent extremism is on the rise globally. From far-right-wing groups gaining legitimate political representation in Eastern Europe to armed attacks by militia groups in the Sahel region of Africa, to the continued threat of terrorism following the Easter bombing attacks in Sri Lanka in 2019, each of these pose unique challenges and opportunities in the transitional justice space. In practice, transitional justice seeks to address human rights abuses that occur during conflict and authoritarianism and examine the consequences on communities and victims. Violent extremism can derail the success and sustainability of transitional justice processes before, during and after their mandates expire, as extremists continue to perpetuate violence. These groups are often excluded from transitional justice mechanisms; when they are included in accountability mechanisms, such as national criminal justice systems, it is usually in ways that fail to recognize the gravity of their crimes. The threat of terrorism and related offences are often met with militarized responses that attempt to contain and combat their reach and influence, as opposed to community-level approaches. While securitized responses are necessary to combat the threat of extremism, such a response on its own is not effective. As has been observed in conflict settings, there are some people associated with these groups that are driven to do so by economic, survival-driven needs and not ideological association, such as forcibly married women, kidnapped children, drivers, doctors, or communities that are unwillingly under a group’s territorial control. This nuance is where transitional justice mechanisms can offer multi-layered approaches to justice and accountability for communities and states. Furthermore, the community-level approaches to guarantees of non-recurrence and truth-telling can provide further insight into root causes that violent extremist groups use to form and recruit in the first place and disrupt and discredit harmful narratives used by extremist groups.

In this webinar, GIJTR partners Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (ICSC) and the Foundation Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) will share findings of their recent project on how transitional justice tools could be harnessed to address aspects of the threat of violent extremism across three regions – Africa (specifically Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger), the Balkan region, and Asia (specifically Sri Lanka). This event will include the launch of the project’s policy paper, and will explore key findings by local GIJTR partners working on this topic over the last year. In particular, this session will share utilized transitional justice-based tools to address radicalization and violent extremism, such as the following: community dialogues as truth-telling and reconciliation processes; justice and accountability processes, including alternative justice mechanisms, in the context of mass criminality; trauma-informed responses to communities affected by violent extremism; institutional reform within state structures to bridge the gaps created by mistrust between security forces and communities; and reparations, including community-based memorialization, for communities affected by violent extremism.

Simultaneous interpretation available in French

This event is free and open to the public. To register, click here.