International Center for Transitional Justice
A native of Argentina, Juan Méndez came of age during a time of great upheaval in Latin America. As a result of his legal and advocacy work, he was arrested, tortured and exiled. He refused to be broken and dedicated his life to pioneering ways to protect human rights. Juan joined ICTJ as president in 2004. Paul van Zyl, a native of apartheid-era South Africa, committed to working against intolerance at a young age. He helped draft legislation to establish the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and was hired by Archbishop Tutu as its Executive Secretary. Paul co-founded ICTJ in 2001.
Please note that original award recipients Paul van Zyl and Juan Mendez have since left the organization. David Tolbert is now CEO of ICTJ. Paul now works at Peace Ventures: http://peaceventures.net and Juan is a Visiting Professor at the Washington College of Law, American University, in Washington DC.
IMPACT AS OF JAN. 2013:
- ICTJ is working with partners in Tunisia to inform members of government bodies and judiciary tasked with investigating human rights violations of the former regime about relevant transitional justice practices employed elsewhere.
- They worked actively with the World Bank to address relationships between justice, security and development in the 2011 World Development Report.
- They provided technical assistance to Argentine prosecutors in helping to organize, prioritize, and provide public information about the significant number of pending prosecutions for abuses during the “dirty war” and supported analysis of why gender based crimes were slow to surface in criminal cases there.
- They coordinated with several NGOs in Peru to help victims from rural communities engage with government on their demand for reparations, and provided technical advice to government agencies and advocates on compensation.
- They analyzed the pitfalls of the de-Baathification process in Iraq and published research on lessons learned in several countries from vetting public servants involved in human rights abuses.
- Building on the momentum of 2010’s Rome Statute Review Conference, ICTJ brought together ICC officials, justice experts, and development actors to address complementarity—how to take practical steps to support domestic prosecutions of international crimes. In Uganda, DRC, Colombia, Argentina, and other countries they are working with, justice acts to further this objective.
- In Burma, they trained local activists in documentation of human rights abuses for future use in demanding accountability. With ICTJ’s help, the Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma built a database of more than 3,000 records of human rights violations.
- Learn more: http://ictj.org/about
ICTJ’s podcast is available on iTunes and www.ICTJ.org. This bimonthly podcast features leaders in human rights, international justice, rule of law and related fields discussing justice and accountability in transitional contexts around the world.
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