EU adopted its policy framework on support to transitional justice at the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, November 16. The EU is already active in supporting transitional justice through its conflict prevention, crisis response and peacebuilding, security and development activities. It is one of the largest financial contributors to transitional justice initiatives worldwide, providing financing to justice, truth seeking initiatives, institutional reform and reparations programmes including through support to civil society and victims’ groups.
The policy framework seeks to ensure that the EU continues to play an active and consistent role in its engagement with partner countries and international and regional organisations in support of transitional justice processes. The EU stresses the need for a context-specific, locally owned approach to transitional justice with the rights and participation of victims at its heart.
The EU promotes a comprehensive, long-term approach to transitional justice aimed at fighting impunity, providing recognition and redress to victims, fostering trust, strengthening the rule of law and contributing to reconciliation and non-recurrence.
Summary of the document
This document forms part of the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy –2015 – 2019, which outlines in action 22 (b) the commitment to develop and implement an EU policy on Transitional Justice. The objective is to provide a framework for EU support to transitional justice mechanisms and processes and enhance the EU’s ability to play a more active and consistent role, both in our engagement with partner countries and with international and regional organisations. This framework sets out how the EU can engage in situations where past violations and abuses, including gross violations and abuses of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law have occurred, through supporting a context-specific combination of measures promoting truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence, i.e. ensuring transitional justice. It builds upon and complements the EU’s existing strong policy in support of the International Criminal Court and takes account of the UN’s framework and activities on transitional justice. It also puts an emphasis on how transitional justice strategies are designed and implemented:
Any such process must be locally and nationally owned, inclusive, gender sensitive and respect states’ obligations under international law. Therefore, the participation of civil society, victims, persons belonging to minority groups, women and youth in such processes plays an important role. Transitional justice is seen today as an integral part of state-building and peace-building and therefore should also be embedded in the wider crisis response, conflict prevention, security and development efforts of the EU.