The field of transitional justice deals with legal, moral, social, and political questions that arise in countries emerging from conflict or gross violations of human rights. In the aftermath of such atrocity, when ordinary justice systems are either unavailable or inadequate, governments and civil society have employed a variety of strategies to respond, including criminal trials, truth commissions, institutional reforms, and reparations programs.
The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice has a longstanding commitment to this area, with teaching, research, conferences, and student field work addressing violations in countries as diverse as Sri Lanka, Iraq, Colombia, and the United States. Known as a hub for the field, CHRGJ attracts exceptional LLM students to NYU from around the world to be part of our community as Transitional Justice Scholars.
Our Transitional Justice Program was founded by Paul van Zyl, former Executive Secretary of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and co-founder of the International Center for Transitional Justice, an organization that remains a close partner to CHRGJ. Since 2015, the Transitional Justice Program has been led by Pablo de Greiff, who until May 2018 served as the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. Other CHRGJ faculty and staff bring their own valuable experience, including Faculty Director and Co-Chair Philip Alston, whose various related roles over the span of a 40-year human rights career include having served on a UN commission of inquiry into reports of violations in the Central African Republic.
CHRGJ’s transitional justice work brings together teaching, research, conferences, and student field work on criminal trials, truth commissions, institutional reform and reparations programs in transitional democracies, ranging from East Timor and Iraq to Sierra Leone and Peru and, most recently, Sri Lanka and Colombia. It includes coursework that examines the conceptual underpinnings of this field and advanced issues in transitional justice.
Emilio Mignone Lecture on Transitional Justice
In collaboration with one of its key partner organizations, the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), the Center also hosts the annual Emilio Mignone Transitional Justice Lecture, which provides a prominent platform for distinguished persons working on transitional justice issues to deliver public remarks on important developments in the field. Past speakers have included Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, Sherrilyn Ifill, Darren Walker, José Zalaquett, Louise Arbour, and Aryeh Neier.
This lecture series was named after human rights advocate Emilio Fermín Mignone, founder and director of the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales, and loving father of Monica Maria Candelaria Mignone, whom the Argentine military forcibly disappeared on May 14, 1976. The series honors Mignone’s lifelong commitment to human rights, accountability, and justice and his vital leadership in documenting disappearances and other grave human rights violations committed by Argentina’s security forces.