Before describing the type of work I am doing this summer as an intern at ICTJ, I would like to provide a brief overview of the organization and the amazing work it does throughout the world.
The International Center for Transitional Justice assists societies confronting massive human rights abuses to promote accountability, pursue truth, provide reparation and build trustworthy institutions by providing expert technical advice, policy analysis and comparative research on transitional justice approaches. Having ten offices worldwide (including the United States' head office), ICTJ works in 32 countries including Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Colombia, Guatemala, Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, the former Yugoslavia, Tunisia, Egypt and Iraq on issues such as criminal justice, reparations, truth and memory, institutional reform, gender justice, and children and youth.
The Criminal Justice Program at ICTJ provides expert assistance, analysis and advice to governments, civil society, and institutions regarding criminal justice initiatives, with a particular expertise on how domestic legal systems can adapt to investigate and prosecute large-scale or systematic crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. As an intern I conduct extensive research on ways to strengthen domestic prosecutions of war crimes, the public's perception of prosecutions, and analyze existing laws regarding domestic prosecutions and their procedures compiling comparative research papers to be given to governments or criminal justice insitutions or assist in the training of these institutions and civil society.
Due to the sensitive nature of some of the projects I am only able to provide a general summary of the types of projects and the countries I am working with. My first assignment at ICTJ was a comparative piece examining the establishment of judicial institutions and the prosecution of war crimes in 5 different countries. The project was extremely interesting and was a collaborative effort of both the staff and various interns. One of the most difficult, yet exciting aspects of working at ICTJ has been the opportunity to work in a variety of languages. We work with a lot of non-English speaking countries and although I only have a basic knowledge of Spanish I have found myself reading numerous documents and laws in Spanish and French with google translate and my colleauges as my aides. The work has been extremely rewarding and educational as I research and analyze complex laws (sometimes in foreign languages) and write reports that will be used in training sessions or in consulations with governments and judicial institutions. ICTJ truly trusts its interns and it is exciting to know that the work I produce is actually being used in these consultations and sessions in various countries throughout the world. My experience thus far as been extremely rewarding and I am excited to get my next assignment.