Innovative Uses of Transitional Justice in Ongoing Conflict and for Corporate Complicity

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Area Studies

Abstract

The proposed project responds to a request from practitioners and policy makers to use the AHRC-funded Transitional Justice Research Collaborative (TJRC) to design more effective transitional justice (TJ) mechanisms to address new challenges in peace and human rights. TJ has become the key set of policies and practices to strengthen democracy, peace, and human rights after atrocity. It has tended to target abuses by state actors or state-like actors (e.g., paramilitaries or rebel armies) in the aftermath of dictatorships and armed conflicts. Very recently policy makers and practitioners have begun adapting it to address abuses in two new contexts: ongoing armed conflict and where nonstate - business - actors participated in past violence. The only systematic research and analysis that exists on these new uses of TJ is the TJRC. The proposed follow-on project aims to enhance the value of the previously funded project by engaging in an international academic-practitioner collaboration to design, implement, and disseminate effective, empirically tested, context-specific, TJ policies to advance peace in the context of ongoing conflict and address victims' needs for justice and remedy for corporate human rights abuses.

The TJRC is the only database of its kind that tracks the adoption of seven TJ mechanisms (criminal trials, amnesties, truth commissions, civil trials, vetting, reparations, and customary justice) in 116 countries that have transitioned from authoritarian rule to democracy or armed conflict to peace between 1970 and 2012. The comprehensive database allowed the team to generate 'path-breaking results' (communication from Prof Guillermo Trejo, University of Notre Dame, 14 June 2016) regarding the impact of TJ on strengthening democracy, human rights, and peace. Cross-national databases, such as the TJRC, generate global patterns and impact, but often have limited utility for practitioners' day-to-day work in the fields of conflict resolution and human rights. The TJRC's cross-national comparative and nuanced case study data and analysis overcomes this weakness of other studies. It has proved useful for adaptation to effective policy and practice in unique country contexts. The proposed partnership with ANDHES, an organization that has adapted and implemented TJRC models in Argentina, provides the know-how to extend the collaboration to five additional countries and beyond. These models are in demand by practitioners working in countries emerging from armed conflict and attempting to promote human rights' victims' rights for redress and remedy.

The TJRC thus fills a void in knowledge about existing and effective models. The partnership with ANDHES adds practical and logistical know-how in adapting those models. Rather than impose these models, however, the partnership responds to a demand for engagement from domestic and international stakeholders to adapt and implement them to suit particular contexts. The collaboration aims to design and implement appropriate, context-specific, TJ mechanisms based on TJRC findings and ANDHES's experience to Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Peru. It will develop a draft truth commission, a strategic litigation manual, TJ mechanisms for peace in ongoing conflict, and models to support implementation (amicus curiae and policy briefs and news articles).

Building on existing collaborations, the partnership aims to develop a collaboration with participating organizations in five countries and key international organizations to design, adapt, implement, and disseminate effective 'best practices' for TJ in ongoing conflict and for corporate human rights abuses. It plans to develop a wider international network of users, including potential new users (specifically in South Africa), to expand the impact of the project globally. Finally it will work with those potential partners to develop funding proposals for future impact activities.

Planned Impact

The foremost objective of the follow-on project is to advance peace processes in ongoing conflict and address victims' demands for justice and remedy for corporate human rights abuses. The project relies on the highly regarded findings of the AHRC-funded TRJC. Rather than adopt a single mechanism to fit all situations, the TJRC provides a range of models that have been empirically tested in situations around the world. The proposed project will disseminate TJRC models for adaptation and implementation in a collaboration with human rights practitioners in five specific countries, in international organizations, and in potential new user organizations.

The project's peace objective will specifically benefit Colombians who have lived in violent conflict for over 50 years. In collaboration with local and international actors in Colombia engaged in the current peace process, this project will use the TJRC to identify, adapt, and implement models of successful TJ practices that have ended conflict elsewhere. It will further benefit international actors engaged in peace processes around the world by putting in their hands the set of mechanisms identified in the TJRC as successful in ending conflict which they may draw on and adapt to their everyday work. The aim is to develop TJ tools for peace based on successful lived experiences and that are adaptable to other contexts to increase the likelihood of sustainable peace.

The main beneficiaries for the corporate human rights abuse objective are victims of those abuses in Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Peru. The TJRC identifies successful models for addressing the needs of victims for justice and remedy after human rights atrocities committed by companies. These models include truth commissions and civil and criminal litigation. In the case of Colombia, the project involves collaborating in the design of a truth commission to investigate and make recommendations regarding such abuses, drawing from the existing sets of prior truth commission models. The other countries already held truth commissions that identified companies complicit in human rights violations during armed conflict and dictatorships. In these countries, the project will involve a collaboration to develop innovative litigation strategies to address victims' needs. The collaboration will consider which models are most appropriate to adapt to the specific country contexts and what legal, political, or social barriers might need to be overcome for their effectiveness. In addition, the project will work with international actors to support these in-country strategies and to expand their use to other contexts. The proposed partnership with ANDHES brings into the collaboration the practical experience of a human rights organization that has already successfully designed and implemented strategic civil and criminal litigation processes for past corporate abuses in the Argentine dictatorship and has participated in the design of a truth commission on corporate complicity.

Positive impact depends on the mutual trust that has developed between the Oxford team, ANDHES, and the participating local and international organizations. It relies on equal and active participation and recognition of the skills and expertise each organization brings to the collaboration. The TJRC is capable of putting tools in the hands of practitioners; sharpening those tools and adapting them appropriately will emerge through engagement and discussion with country and policy experts. The engagement of practitioners in the project is thus crucial to sophisticated and effective context-sensitive policy design and implementation. In sum, follow-on support from the AHRC (with existing co-funding from Open Society and ESRC-IAA), will enable the Oxford-ANDHES team to enhance the value and impact of the TJRC's empirically-tested models for advancing peace and promoting justice and remedy for human rights victims.
 
Description We have discovered, though extensive data collection and systematic analysis, the extent of the impunity gap for cases of business complicity with grave human rights violations committed during armed conflicts or authoritarian regimes in the world. We have also discovered the leadership that civil society organisations in Latin America have had to bring these actors to account and the innovative strategies that they have used to face the strong veto power of economic actors. We developed a framework of analysis to understand this impunity gap: 1) there is low international pressure on states to prosecute economic actors for their complicity with grave human rights violations; 2) claimants face actors with strong veto power, 3) access to justice has been achieved so far through a mobilisation from 'below' and 4) this mobilisation from below has been supported by judicial innovation.
Exploitation Route Our findings have been used by civil society organisations to further their strategies to bring these actors to account. Particularly, together with ANDHES and CELS in Argentina we have used the data to strengthen their litigation strategy in domestic courts. With Londres 38, an NGO in Chile, they organised a workshop and used our findings to sensitise judges and prosecutors about the existence and the extent of the phenomenon of complicity and are now seeing the results in the courts that are more receptive to their claims. Together with Dejusticia in Colombia we presented a policy paper with the view of influencing the mandate of the truth commission and suggesting a way in which the commission should investigate business complicity with the armed conflict. The Truth Commission has used our work as part of the state of the art that influenced the design of the methodology to investigate cases of corporate complicity. We are working with civil society groups to help them prepare and present reports to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and the Truth Commission. Our findings have also been used by the Inter American Commission of Human Rights to think about the mandate of the Unit on Memory and Truth and the new Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural Rights and the Environment.
Sectors Government, Democracy and Justice

URL https://ahra.web.ox.ac.uk
 
Description Our findings have been used by civil society organisations to further their strategies to bring these actors to account. Particularly, together with ANDHES and CELS in Argentina we have used the data to strengthen their litigation strategy in domestic courts. With Londres 38, an NGO in Chile, they organised a workshop and used our findings to sensitise judges and prosecutors about the existence and the extent of the phenomenon of complicity and are now seeing the results in the courts that are more receptive to their claims. Together with Dejusticia in Colombia we presented a policy paper with the view of influencing the mandate of the truth commission and suggesting a way in which the commission should investigate business complicity with the armed conflict. The Truth Commission took note of our recommendations and incorporated some of them in their methodology to investigate the issue. We are also now members of a working groups that meets periodically and supports the work of the Truth Commission in these matters. Our findings have also been used by the Inter American Commission of Human Rights to think about the mandate of the Unit on Memory and Truth and the new Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural Rights and the Environment.
Sector Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Closed discussion with members of the Argentine Foreign Office about the different models of corporate accountability of around the world and the leading role of Argentina in the field. In addition, the PI and the Foreign Office partnered to hold a confer
Geographic Reach South America 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Closed discussion with members of the Centre for Legal and Social Studies, CELS, in Buenos Aires about research strategies to advance civil and criminal trials related to business complicity.
Geographic Reach South America 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Consolidated a network with key advocacy groups in Argentina (CELS and ANDHES) and Colombia (Dejusticia) to promote public policy papers and reports, strategic litigation, amicus briefs, academic publications, and enhance visibility before international human rights bodies and public visibility.
 
Description Side event during the Second Session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises on Human Rights
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Special Hearings on Corporate Complicity in Human Rights Violations, Inter-American Commission of Human Rights
Geographic Reach South America 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Workshop on the challenges and opportunities of prosecuting economic actors for their involvement in grave human rights violations during armed conflicts and dictatorships
Geographic Reach South America 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Workshops and meetings with the Colombian Truth Commission
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Our collaborative work with the Truth Commission, as part of a working group that meets with the Commission periodically, has influenced the way in which the commission has designed a methodology to investigate corporate complicity as part of its three year mandate.
 
Title Corporate Accountability and Transitional Justice Database 
Description The Corporate Accountability and Transitional justice database was created by joint efforts from the University of Oxford, ANDHES (NGO based in Argentina) and Dejusticia (NGO based in Colombia). It aims to track judicial and non-judicial responses to business complicity in human rights violations during dictatorships and armed conflicts throughout the world. It includes the so-called "industrialist" and slave labor cases in Nazi Germany up to the conflict in Colombia. In addition to mapping where accountability has occurred, the project further considers the type of accountability, and the outcome of those accountability processes for victims. The unit of analysis is business involvement in human rights violations during dictatorships and/or armed conflict. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The CATJ has been used by civil society to support policy proposals and strategic litigation. For example, in Colombia we worked together with Dejusticia, a local NGO, to produce a policy paper that uses the data in the CATJ to present a set of recommendations on how the truth commission should deal with the issue of business complicity with human rights violations committed during the armed conflict. In Argentina the data has been used by ANDHES to identify cases for strategic litigation. 
URL https://ahra.web.ox.ac.uk/corporate-accountability-transitional-justice
 
Description Collaboration with ANDHES 
Organisation Foundation Lawyers and lawyers of the Argentine Northwest in Human Rights and Social Studies
Country Argentina 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution My research team and I at the University of Oxford contributed to the project with decisions about methodological approaches, data collection and data analysis; as well as giving visibility to the work of our partners and to the events and outputs from the collaboration.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners organised events, participated in data collection and analysis, are involved in litigating cases and identified relevant stakeholders
Impact policy papers, academic publications, workshops, conferences
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration with CELS in Argentina 
Organisation Center for Legal and Social Studies
Country Argentina 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution My research team at the University of Oxford has contributed to the design of research methodologies to investigate cases of business complicity with the dictatorship in Argentina; as well as coordinating public events to give visibility to the collaborative research and to the specific work that CELS does through strategic litigation of cases of complicity
Collaborator Contribution CELS has been a leader in Argentina bringing economic actors to account before domestic courts, for their role in past atrocities during the dictatorship. They have litigated the cases and opened spaces in Argentina to present our research and increase its impact
Impact Conferences; policy briefs
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaboration with Dejusticia in Colombia 
Organisation Dejusticia - Law, Justice and Society Studies Center
Country Colombia 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution My team and I at the University of Oxford contributed our knowledge on methodological approaches to data collection to create databases of human rights violations by economic actors. We also participated in the design of the coding manual and instructions, trained coders and practitioners from Dejusticia to use coding tools that would facilitate data collection and data analysis. We also participated in the coding process. We actively participated writing a policy paper on the role of the truth commission in Colombia to investigate business complicity with the armed conflict.. We helped to give visibility to the findings of the project
Collaborator Contribution They participated in the data collection process, identifying the best sources of data to code and designing the coding manual. They participated in data analysis and writing the policy on the role of the truth commission in Colombia to investigate business complicity with the armed conflict. They organised the launch of this report as well as other events and meetings with relevant stakeholders in Colombia and in the Inter-American System of Human Rights.
Impact policy papers, conferences, workshops
Start Year 2015
 
Description Closed meeting with officials of APRODEH, a local human rights organization in Peru 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact In Perú, we held a closed meeting with officials of APRODEH, a local human rights organization in June 2017. IN that meeting, members of Andhes presented our action research methodology and the cases of corporate complicity that the University of Oxford has found. The meeting, laid out as an informal workshop, was important to plan potential activities. As a result of this meeting, Aprodeh joint Andhes and the University of Oxford in two funding proposals, one to the European Union and another to the Economic and Social Research Council. Unfortunately, those proposals were unsuccessful.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Closed-door meeting with officials of DPFL foundation, El Salvador 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The University of Oxford has also developed a series of activities in El Salvador in March 2018. This country is going through a particular moment as the accountability process for state terrorism has been recently opened. First, we have had a closed-door meeting with officials of DPFL foundation to discuss our research and accountability initiatives. Second, we participated an of series of conferences at the Universidad Nacional on transitional justice where we presented our findings and analyzed corporate accountability processes around the world.
There are two outcomes. First, the DPFL organized two events in August 2018. The first one was a closed workshop with practitioners from the main human rights groups. Andhes and UO will run the workshop to discuss how to adapt their research and accountability strategies to the local context. Second, there was a public conference open to the public. Additionally, the National University created a human rights program on transitional justice which will include corporate complicity as one of its components.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description First international conference on human rights and transitional justice organized by the Univerisdade Federal do Sao Paulo 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Between the 27 and 30 of March in Sao Paulo, the University of Oxford had a series of meeting with stakeholders to discuss current and potential accountability initiatives. First, we had a meeting with the public prosecutor to discuss the progress of the Volkswagen case and to discuss our research and impact-oriented activities. Second, we met Adriano Diogo who was leading the strategy to collect data for both the state and national truth commission. He gave us valuable information on the key actors involved in business accountability initiatives. Third, we had a meeting with union leaders to collect information on their work on business complicity and to discuss potential partnerships. Finally, we had a meeting with Marcio Seligman to discuss potential impact-oriented artistic interventions

Additionally, we participated in the first international conference on human rights and transitional justice organized by the Univerisdade Federal do Sao Paulo. This conference was attended by academics, activists, human rights defenders and politicians. We presented our main findings, and the main accountability strategies developed to get business accountability around the world.
Finally, held a workshop on action-research on business complicity. The workshop aimed to discuss with academics and activities how research can be used to develop business accountability strategies.
The most relevant outcome of these activities was the contact with the public prosecutors on the Volkswagen case. As a result of this, we develop activities to give greater visibility to the Volkswagen case. The prosecutor presented the case at the conference held in 2017 in Oxford and he will part of a parallel project on public prosecutors in charge of Andhes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Group of activities related to corporate accountability in Chile 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact In Chile, Andhes and OU partnered Londres 38 and a group of academics to develop a series of activities related to corporate accountability in july 2017. First, we had a workshop with Londres 38 where we discussed our action research models and the different strategies to get legal accountability. Second, Londres 38 organized a conference in the Instituto de Estudios Judiciales attended by judges, law enforcement officers, and lawyers working on crimes against humanity cases. Third, we had a closed-door meeting with the leading judge on cases related to crime against humanity in Chile. We discussed in that meeting how evidence collected in cases against state actors could be used against economic actors. Finally, we participated in a workshop to discuss the elaboration of a volume on Corporate Complicity in Chile aimed to reach a wide public audience and raise awareness about the topic.
The outcomes of these activities are very successful. Londres 38 applied the action-research methodology used in Argentina and Colombia to the Chilean case. They found evidence against the Pesquera Arauco company and filled a criminal lawsuit against it in September 2017. Subsequently, Londres 38 participated in activities discussed above in this report.It participated in the events with the Interamerican commission staff in Bogotá in 2018; they presented evidence of corporate complicity in Chile and the details of their case. Finally, Londres 38 will be one of the organizations providing information to the commission for its first report on business and human rights.
Also, the volume on corporate complicity in Chile has been written and will be published in July 2018. The volume is meant to reach a public audience beyond an academic one. Practitioners, academics, and journalist write it. A public conference will be held in July to disseminate the book.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Justicia Transicional y sus Limites 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of our findings on corporate complicity with past atrocities and methodologies to bring economic actors to account.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Launch of Cuentas claras: El papel de la ComisiĆ³n de la Verdad en la develaciĆ³n de la responsabilidad de empresas en el conflicto armado colombiano 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Public launch of a report that we worked with in collaboration with Dejusticia (one of Colombia's most well known NGOs), where we presented our findings about corporate complicity in Colombia and recommended the Colombian Truth Commission an approach to the investigation of this phenomenon. The event allowed us to consolidate a network that we have been building over the years with key advocacy groups in Argentina (CELS and ANDHES) and Colombia (Dejusticia) to promote public policy papers and reports, strategic litigation, amicus briefs, academic publications, and enhance visibility before international human rights bodies and public visibility. Started a discussion with a working group that ever since the launch has been supporting the Truth Commission in Colombia methodologically and thematically about how to investigate corporate complicity with the armed conflict.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Meeting with policy makers in Colombia on transitional justice and corporate accountability in the offices of Dejusticia 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Opened a dialogue between academia, civil society organizations and state entities (including the Prosecutor's Office, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, Congress people and the Ombudsman's office) around corporate accountability
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation by Gabriel Pereira and Leigh Payne on "Transitional Justice and Corporate Complicity in Argentina in Comparative Perspective,| FLACSO-ISA, Buenos Aires, 23-25 July 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Many interesting questions were raised and an interesting debate ensued.

No impact yet
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Presentation to Lawyers in Chile on advancing accountability of economic actors for their role in past violence in Chile. "Impunity and Accountability: Trends in Accountability" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The purpose of the activity was to present our findings about corporate complicity in the past violence a methodologies to advance accountability, and support their work to advance corporate accountability in Chile.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Talk by Leigh Payne with Tricia D. Olsen and Gabriel Pereira on Understanding Corporate Complicity in Past Political Violence: A Preliminary Analysis, Human Rights and Change conference, International Studies Association, Istanbul, 16-18 June, 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Many questions were raised as a result of the presentation.

No impact yet
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Workshop together with the Plataforma Internacional contra la Impunidad in Antigua, Guatemala 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact On the 23rd of June 2017, we held a workshop together with the Plataforma Internacional contra la Impunidad in Antigua, Guatemala. The workshop was also aimed to discuss how to connect academic research with practitioners activities. Members of both UO and Andhes led the workshop. It was attended by more than 20 twenty representatives of human rights groups, private law bureaus, and academics. Unfortunately, there was no follow up activities with any of these groups.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017