Conference on Children and Transitional Justice

Conference on Children and Transitional Justice

┬ęPhoto courtesy of istockphotos.com, purchased by the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program -


In 2007, the Expert Paper Series on Children and Transitional Justice was launched by UNICEF IRC, working closely with a wide range of experts, including within UNICEF Headquarters, the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and numerous academic institutions, in order to encourage further research and analysis of key issues and case studies related to children and transitional justice. The culmination of that work will provide the basis for discussion and debate, as well as for indentifying key principles for the protection and participation of children in transitional justice processes.

The purposes of the April 2009 Children and Transitional Justice Conference are:
  • Review and consolidate documentation, research and analysis of the legal framework, thematic issues and case studies on children and transitional justice;
  • On the basis of good practices and lessons learned, build consensus on key principles for the protection of the rights of child victims and witnesses participating in transitional justice mechanisms and processes.
  • Provide a framework for involving children and adolescents in post-conflict peacebuilding and development, including through the active citizenship of young people in their communities.
  • Engage key actors in addressing the full spectrum of children's rights, including economic and social rights, in post-conflict situations, laying the foundation for a more just and peaceful society.

The first day of the conference will be dedicated to the presentation of preliminary findings by experts who have carried out research and analysis related to children and transitional justice. These panel presentations will provide evidence-based recommendations for more effective strategies, both at the national and international levels. Research presented will then serve, on the second day, as the basis for Working Groups that will be tasked to consolidate the findings as input towards the development of a Key Principles Document on Children and Transitional Justice.

It is anticipated that the expert papers and the Key Principles Document will contribute to ongoing efforts to better inform the protection and participation of children in truth, justice and reconciliation processes, and to help ensure the fulfilment of children's rights, including their economic and social rights in post-conflict situations. The Key Principles Document is envisioned as the groundwork for further elaboration and consensus-building on the important role of children in transitional justice and the establishment of minimum standards for their protection and participation.

OBJECTIVES
Short Term
  • Consolidate research findings and recommendations on children and transitional justice, and generate debate and dialogue from diverse perspectives among i) practitioners and academics, ii) legal experts and child rights advocates, iii) south and north-based specialists.
  • Develop a Key Principles Document that will serve as the basis for further consensus and for the promotion of minimum standards for the protection and participation of children in transitional justice processes.

Long Term
  • Promote the Key Principles Document through a network of practitioners, academics, child rights advocates and legal experts in order to inform and support efforts for the involvement of children in truth, reconciliation and justice-seeking processes.
  • Provide a basis for a consistent and coherent approach to children and transitional justice in order to improve accountability and promote reconciliation in diverse country contexts.
  • Build capacity of stable and long-term development in the aftermath of armed conflict, including through engaging children and adolescents as partners and stakeholders in the rebuilding of their communities, and in securing future social and economic opportunities.

Disclaimer: On the following pages you will access executive summaries and presentations compiled by the experts in the context of the Transitional justice conference organized by UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre and the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School. This material does not necessarily reflect the views of UNICEF.

Contact us on this conference

Updated on 20 April 2009