To seek accountability and redress for genocide and crimes against humanity, many actors with diverse perspectives and areas of expertise must contribute to, participate in, and champion the cause of justice. Transitional justice is a decades-long effort that requires support and pressure from victims, survivors, and affected communities, and the political buy-in from relevant decision-makers. It requires strategic thinkers to develop creative solutions to intractable problems and skilled practitioners to implement them. It requires legal specialists with expertise in gathering evidence and developing cases. It requires strategic communicators who can convey the urgency of the need to end impunity to different audiences. It requires security experts, sustainable funding and resources, and the perseverance and determination of everyone involved.
The Ferencz Initiative recognizes that although these actors may share the common, long-term goal of justice, they usually lack regularized or coordinated opportunities to share information, strategize, and work together. This leads to lost time, wasted resources, and missed opportunities. Through our Justice Advisory Groups (JAGs)—our flagship project—we are spearheading a new approach that seeks to change this. We have launched JAGs in three focus countries, regularly bringing diverse actors to the same table to develop coordinated strategies, action plans, and new ideas to advance transitional justice. Through our JAGs, we strive to:
- Empower, educate, equip, and give voice to the most compelling and committed active agents of change—survivors and affected communities—to seek justice
- Connect those local change-agents to decision-makers, policy-makers, experts, and institutions with the tools, strategies, and resources needed to realize their demand for justice
- Strengthen decision-makers’ understanding of and commitment to the role justice can play in preventing mass atrocities
By fostering strategic partnerships between local and international organizations working to advance justice, our JAGs have sparked collaborative and innovative projects that aim to improve our collective capacity to respond to atrocities. Members of our JAGs have served as a source of expertise and advisory support to those implementing these projects on the ground and have helped to connect them to relevant policy-makers at the regional and international levels. Moreover, our JAGs provide a space for solidarity, advice, and support among key actors as these ideas are implemented.