Pablo de Greiff: major rethink needed for the prevention of mass atrocities

On 4 May UN Special Rapporteur on Transitional Justice Pablo de Greiff, who was succeeded just days ago by Mr Fabian Salvioli, made some interesting remarks as he presented a report concerning transitional justice and conflict-prevention.

“Prevention is not a form of crisis response. It goes much further than early warning efforts. Anything capable of triggering an early warning system suggests that early and structural prevention work has either not taken place, or has failed”, Mr de Greiff said.

The study shows that preventive potential of transitional justice has not been fully explored. According to de Greiff this is the result of a tendency to see transitional justice as a past-oriented policy.

He added: “This neglect is surprising, as the promise of ‘never again’ has always been an important motivation for implementing transitional justice measures.”

His views are fully in line with what we have always considered our proposal for the right to know to be: not only a mechanism for permanent civic participation in democratic processes, but also one for early prevention of human rights violations and mass atrocities through the timely diffusion of information.

Laura Harth

Read the full remarks by Pablo de Greiff

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