A man looks at posters of paper on a wall.

Post-Conflict Resolution


Since its inception, the Human Rights Center has worked to understand the needs and attitudes of communities shaken by horrific, systemic violence. Whether in the form of targeted genocide or indiscriminate killing, our approach has been to work with both state-level and international justice mechanisms and local organizations, and has always centered the lived experience of survivors and witnesses.


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International Human Rights Law Clinic University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
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Tulane University
Sarajevo Human Rights Center


In power for just under four years (1975 to 1979), the Khmer Rouge more than decimated Cambodia. Between 1.5 million and 3 million Cambodians were killed or died as a result of the oppressive policies imposed by the Khmer Rouge, with execution, starvation, exhaustion from slave labor, malnutrition, and torture as the leading causes of death. During the years of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, HRC conducted numerous population-based surveys on attitudes toward peace, justice, and social reconstruction in Cambodia, as well as responses to the tribunal by the Cambodian people.


Many bracelets are displayed together.
Bracelets of children executed at the Choeung Ek Genocide Center. Image by Ryan Chan via Unsplash.

Central African Republic

HRC’s work in the Central African Republic sought to understand the scope and magnitude of violence, as well as the association between exposure to violence and traumatic events with self-reported physical and mental health status. We also worked with survivors and witnesses who went on to testify at the International Criminal Court.


A child fishes near a lake.
A child fishes near a lake in the Central African Republic.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

For years, HRC conducted empirical research in the Democratic Republic of Congo to understand opinions and attitudes about specific transitional justice mechanisms, including trials, traditional justice, truth commissions, and reparations. We worked extensively with survivors and witnesses who went on to testify at the International Criminal Court.

A man sits on a train.
Image by Johnnathan Tshibangu via Unsplash.

Former Yugoslavia

From investigating the mass graves of Srebrenica to studying community attitudes towards social reconstruction, HRC has a long history of work in the former Yugoslavia. We worked directly with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to interview survivors of genocide and help identify the remains of victims to piece together the story of how events unfolded. We also studied how survivors of mass violence perceive, interpret, and relate to the work of the ad hoc tribunals.

A collection of photographs burned at the edges.
In the village of Velika Krusa, a family photo album caked in mud was found in late June 1999 amid a pile of luggage and clothing that had belonged to displaced Kosovar Albanians. Image by Gilles Peress.


In 2003 and 2004, we worked with the International Center for Transitional Justice and Human Rights Watch to assess the situation of displaced people in Iraqi Kurdistan; investigate Kurdish treatment of Iraqi prisoners of war; and monitor whether U.S.–led forces restored and ensured public order, pursuant to the Geneva Convention. We further studied how Iraqis wished to address the legacy of human rights violations and political violence, visited mass graves, and documented testimonies of human rights violations. 

Left: Halabja Memorial Cemetery, comprising more than 1000 family headstones commemorating the deaths of over 5000 Kurds on March 16, 1988. On that day, Iraqi government jets bombed the town of Halabja with a lethal cocktail of mustard gas and chemical nerve agents. Thousands of survivors and their offspring continue to suffer from physical deformities, respiratory ailments, and cancers. February 2004, image by Eric Stover.

A man looks at posters of paper on a wall.


On a warm spring morning in 1999, Serbian security and paramilitary forces descended on the small village of Cuska, near the western Kosovo city of Pec. The villagers were threatened and robbed of their money, jewelry, and identification papers. 29 men were divided into three groups and taken into three separate houses, where they were sprayed repeatedly with automatic weapons. Each house was then set on fire and left to burn. The research project and resulting book, published in 2001, investigates the massacre at Cuska, and examines the changing face of human rights reporting in the age of information, digital photography, and war crimes tribunals.

Left: Kosovar refugees (ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo) become refugees as they enter Albania after being driven out of their homes by Serbian forces. They are traveling to a refugee camp in Kukes, Albania. Image by Gilles Peress.

Two women and a young boy sit on a motorcycle.


Liberia’s civil war between 1989 and 2003 left hundreds of thousands dead, and many more affected by the extreme violence that ravaged the country. We conducted a study in 2010 to gain a deeper understanding of people’s priorities for peacebuilding, their perceptions of post-war security, and existing disputes and dispute resolution mechanisms.

The Liberian flag waves above a building.
Erik Hersman via Wikimedia Commons.


HRC’s work in Rwanda stretches back to 1995, just one year following the genocide when we mapped mass graves with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. For years after, we studied transitional justice in community contexts and worked with witnesses and survivors of atrocities. We also studied how survivors of mass violence perceive, interpret, and relate to the work of the ad hoc tribunals. HRC sent researchers to work with educators and students to lead a series of working groups to develop new history curriculum in the wake of the genocide. The final document was a resource book for teachers that provided materials and sample lessons for each of four periods: pre-colonial, colonial, post-colonial, and the 1990s.

Left: Families flee extreme violence and instability in Rwanda, 1994. It is unknown what ethnic group these families identify with. Millions of refugees of both Tutsi and Hutu background fled to Tanzania, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire) during the genocide, and in its aftermath. Image by GIlles Peress.

Women and children walk, holding a blanket to shield from the sun.


The Human Rights Center conducted research in northern Uganda for many years, where the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) waged a brutal war costing thousands of lives and displacing more than 1.5 million people. We conducted several projects to document the level of violence witnessed by children and their families, and assess what kinds of justice mechanisms were most likely to bring peace. We also worked with the MacArthur Foundation to fund the Pader Girls Academy, a school built to serve girls who had escaped the Lord’s Resistance Army. Learn more about Pader Girls Academy here.


A child's drawing depicting fire, military tanks, homes, and death.
Former Ugandan child soldiers illustrate what their lives were like when they were abducted by the LRA.

Oct 31, 2015

The Victims’ Court: A Study of 622 Victim Participants at the International Criminal Court

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Nov 30, 2010

Transitioning to Peace: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes about Social Reconstruction and Justice in Northern Uganda

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Genetic Tracing, Disappeared Children _ Justice

May 31, 2010

Genetic Tracing, Disappeared Children, and Justice

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Dec 31, 2009

Human Rights, Transitional Justice, Public Health, and Social Reconstruction

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PeaceBuilding _ Displacement in N. Uganda

Jun 14, 2009

PeaceBuilding and Displacement in Northern Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Study of Intentions to Move and Attitudes towards Former Combatants

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May 15, 2009

Returning Home: Forced Conscription, Reintegration, and Mental Health Status of Former Abductees of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda

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When the War Ends

Nov 30, 2007

When the War Ends: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes about Peace, Justice, and Social Reconstruction in Northern Uganda

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Exposure to War Crimes

Jul 31, 2007

Exposure to War Crimes and Implications for Peace Building in Northern Uganda

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Northern Uganda

Jul 31, 2007

Northern Uganda: Research Note on Attitudes about Peace and Justice in Northern Uganda

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May 31, 2007

Abducted: The Lord’s Resistance Army and Forced Conscription in Northern Uganda

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Apr 30, 2006

War-Affected Children and Youth in Northern Uganda: Toward a Brighter Future

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Forgotten Voices

Jun 30, 2005

Forgotten Voices: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes about Peace and Justice in Northern Uganda

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