Integration of mental health and psychosocial approaches in accountability mechanisms for atrocity crimes
This is a closed event for invited participants only. If you want to stay informed about the progress and outcomes of this project, please email email@example.com.
The role of victims and of victim-witnesses in national and international accountability mechanisms for atrocity crimes has progressively gained ground over the past two decades. This development increased the need for a better understanding of the potential psychological impact of the work of these mechanisms on survivors/victims and witnesses. It also triggered a heightened interest in how mental health and psychosocial (MHPSS) approaches can improve witness evidence and victim well-being and, ultimately, improve justice outcomes. However, notwithstanding the increased focus on victim-centred justice, the use of MHPSS approaches and trauma-informed methodologies is still underdeveloped and only scarcely integrated in the work of most justice mechanisms.
In addition, good practices that have been developed are often scattered and not readily available mental health and justice practitioners, especially to those working in national justice mechanisms or conflict-affected settings. Generally, there is a limited exchange of know-how between mechanisms at international and at national levels. True multidisciplinary approaches are largely lacking.
However, experience with implementing good practices, mainly at the International Criminal Court (ICC), and other mechanisms, as well as emerging research clearly show that the integration of a mental health focus and the promotion of multidisciplinary approaches directly contribute to enhanced quality and impact of evidence gathering. Integrating knowledge about trauma and its impact into the engagement with victims, including during formal procedures, has been shown to be beneficial to victims and to the justice process itself.
The project, supported by the Knowledge Management Fund and the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law, aims to fill this gap by making good practices and know-how widely available to practitioners in the justice field through guidelines and by strengthening a community of practice. The objective is that this project becomes a catalyst for further integration of mental health and psychosocial approaches in accountability mechanisms to make them truly victim and witness-centered.
This expert meeting intends to bring together legal practitioners, psychosocial experts and organizations working on accountability for atrocity crimes and/or transitional justice who were consulted for this project. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss, in an informal manner, what would be needed to fully integrate good practices in the work of the different mechanisms and organizations and what a community of practice supporting a multidisciplinary approach could look like.
An Michels is the lead researcher for this project. She is a clinical psychologist and team leader of the Psychosocial Support Team of the Victims and Witnesses Section in the International Criminal Court. She is specialised in the development of psychosocial support strategies for war-affected populations and supported, with her teams, hundreds of victims and witnesses at the Special Court for Sierra Leone and at the ICC.
Eveline de Bruijn is a contributor to this project. She has over sixteen years of experience on justice issues, having worked in various conflict-affected settings as well as Headquarters with the UN, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Oxfam. She is currently active as an advisor for various organisations working on justice and mental health. She is in the process of becoming a licensed psychologist.
A closed expert meeting will be held to discuss further what would be needed to fully integrate MHPSS good practices in the work of the different mechanisms and organizations and how a community of practice supporting a multidisciplinary approach could look like.
The meeting will be opened and moderated by Pablo de Greiff, former UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. He is currently a Commissioner on the UN Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, Senior Fellow and Director of the Transitional Justice Program, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the NYU School of Law and a world-leading expert on transitional justice.
If you are interested and want to be kept informed about the progress and outcome of this project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.