The Dealing with the Past Program contributes to the research-policy nexus at swisspeace through its research projects, research events, conferences, publications and teaching. The Dealing with the Past research activities are connected to an international network of partners, scholars and practitioners and focus on: analyzing dealing with the past processes, interrogating assumptions and norms which underpin dealing with the past processes, and identifying innovative and informative avenues for future research. PhD Fellow Julie Bernath specializes in the politics of transitional justice, victim participation in transitional justice processes and dealing with the past in Cambodia. Research Fellow Dr. Djané Adou specializes in issues of governance, reconciliation, state and nation-building and transitional justice in Côte d‘Ivoire.
Dr. Briony Jones, Assistant Professor in the Politics and International Studies Department of the University of Warwick, is an associated senior researcher of the Dealing with the Past Program. Her research focuses on reconciliation, citizenship, the politics of intervention in societies undergoing a political transition and facing a past of massive human rights violations, and the politics of knowledge production. Associated researcher Dr. Enzo Nussio, senior researcher at the Centre for Security Studies of the ETH Zurich, specializes in post-conflict issues (such as DDR of ex-combatants, reconciliation, transitional justice, statebuilding and post-war violence) and violence reduction in urban settings, mostly in Latin America.

Research Projects


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.

Project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, 2016 - 2020

Right to Truth, Truth(s) through Rights: Mass Crimes Impunity and Transitional Justice

The swisspeace Dealing with the Past Program is a partner of this interdisciplinary research project conducted by the Law Faculty of the University of Geneva. The project examines the meanings and functions of the right to truth in contexts of persistent impunity. More information.

Project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and SDC, 2016-2019

Knowledge for peace. Understanding research, policy and practice synergies

The research 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. The project focuses on transitional justice processes in Côte d’Ivoire, South Sudan and Mozambique. It is conducted by swisspeace, the University of Juba and the "Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire". The project is part of the “research for development program” (r4d) managed by the Swiss National Science Foundation and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Website

swisspeace and Oxford Transitional Justice Research, 2013

Transitional Justice Methods Manual: An Exchange on Researching and Assessing Transitional Justice

Published within the research project "Ways of Knowing After Atrocity: A Knowledge Exchange on Methods Used to Formulate, Implement and Assess Transitional Justice Processes". Download.

Mandate for International Advisory Board for the European Research Council

Youth Citizenship in Divided Societies: Between Cosmopolitanism, Nation and Civil Society.

The YouCitizen Research Project examines the politics of youth citizenship and civic engagement in societies that have a history of conflict and division. Link.

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Academic Conferences and Teachings


26 - 29 August 2015

ECPR General Conference

swisspeace PhD candidate Julie Bernath co-convened the Human Rights and Transitional Justice (TJ) section of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) at the General Conference of the University of Montreal. Senior researcher Briony Jones presented her research on Côte d'Ivoire. More information

4 - 10 May 2015

CAS Dealing with the Past Course

This course focused on the potentials and challenges of designing a Dealing with the Past process, and the ways in which actors can work together to ensure effective policy decision-making. More Information.

Briony Jones

Dealing with the past and the role of archives

swisspeace conducted this doctoral course at the Pluralistic Memory Project’s Doctoral School 2015 (Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lausanne), on the 29 and 30 of April. More information.

16-17 May 2014

CAS Applied Module

This module of the CAS Civilian Peacebuilding Course included simulation games on conflict prevention and dealing with the past, facilitated by planpolitik. More info on the CAS in Civilian Peacebuilding.

02 May 2014

Memories, Pluralism and Collective Empowerment

swisspeace senior researcher Briony Jones gave an input at this panel at the University of Lausanne.

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