Achieving justice for a mass atrocity crime is a challenge no matter where it occurs. Victims have the right to justice – ideally in their own country – and this is the cornerstone of reconciliation and victims’ access to justice. The international community agrees that perpetrators must be held accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity or acts of genocide. The challenge lies in the delivery of justice. States hold the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute international crimes that fall under their jurisdiction. Justice Rapid Response fills a gap between a country’s decision to pursue justice for mass atrocity crimes and its technical capacity to do so.
Justice Rapid Response’s National Justice Programme partners with States that seek to hold perpetrators accountable or to address past crimes through transitional justice processes. We offer the support of highly specialized expertise from the international community in order to do so. With Justice Rapid Response’s support, countries maintain ownership of accountability, at international standards. National actors are mentored to design and implement credible investigations and prosecutorial strategies, which will in turn build public confidence in the national justice process.
Justice Rapid Response responds to inquiries from national prosecutors and truth, reconciliation and reparations commissions among others. We conduct in-depth consultations with local authorities as well as international organizations and civil society working in the country. Based on these consultations, we propose areas where our experts can provide sustained mentoring support. Justice Rapid Response provides expertise in some 50 specializations, including criminal investigations, prosecutions, transitional justice, sexual and gender-based violence investigations, child protection, witness protection and military analysis. These experts work with their national counterparts to address challenges on active cases and to strengthen capacity in the long term.
Justice Rapid Response’s work enables countries confronted with the aftermath of mass atrocities to meet their obligations to investigate, prosecute and address mass atrocity crimes. From gathering evidence in the field to presenting it in the courtroom, Justice Rapid Response experts ensure that national authorities have knowledge and tools tailored to the local context. Ultimately, rule of law is strengthened when justice for past crimes is done, and as a result, public confidence in the rule of law and institutions is strengthened and societies are more resilient to future conflict.
In Colombia, Justice Rapid Response has supported the country’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace: