Dealing with the Past

Dealing with a legacy of gross human rights violations is one of the greatest challenges facing societies in the aftermath of violent conflict. Research suggests that there is a relationship between the ability to address this legacy in a comprehensive and inclusive manner and the potential to develop sustainable peace. The swisspeace Dealing with the Past (DwP) Program supports governmental and non-governmental actors in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of DwP activities. The program provides a wide range of training opportunities and contributes to the research-policy nexus through its research projects, conferences, publications and teaching.

The biggest project of the DwP Program at swisspeace currently is:

The Archives and Dealing with the Past project provides support to actors in the field of transitional justice and dealing with the past related to the protection, preservation and management of human rights archives. Learn more


Another project of the DwP Program at swisspeace currently is:

The project "Knowledge for Peace. Understanding research, policy and practice synergies” aims to improve peacebuilding practice by looking at how research and knowledge about peace and its components are generated and how the politics of knowledge production impact policy making. Learn more

Latest Activities and Publications

ECPR-Conference in Oslo, September 2017

New Insights in the Practice and Research of Transitional Justice

swisspeace was represented by two of its senior staff members at this year's ECRP-Conference in Oslo. Lisa Ott, the co-head of the Dealing with the Past program, spoke about "Using archives to contest official narratives of the past" and Julie Bernath, senior researcher & program officer in the Dealing with the Past program, discussed the subject of "The Politics of Difference in Transitional Justice: Frictions and Meaning Production around the Notion of Genocide in Cambodia". More Information.


Huma Haider, 2017

Breaking the Cycle of Violence: Applying Conflict Sensitivity to Transitional Justice

swisspeace Working Paper 2 | 2017, June 2017, ISBN 978-3-906841-05-2. Order / download.


Albanian Authority on the Sigurimi Files, 31 May 2017

Lessons from the Stasi Records Agency

Nicola Diday participated in a visit of the Albanian Authority on the Sigurimi files at the Stasi Records Agency in Berlin. The goal of the visit was to learn from the experience of the Stasi Records Agency in making accessible the records of the former secret police of Eastern Germany.


swisspeace, May 2017

Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences Award

Julie Bernath was awarded the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences award for her for her published article "Complex Political Victims in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocity: Reflections from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal" in the International Journal on Transitional Justice.


swisspeace, 2017

Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission in Mali

swisspeace will be supporting the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission in Mali for a year in questions regarding archives and memory work. Rahel von Arx and Elisabeth Baumgartner undertook a first evaluation mission in Bamako in mid-May.