Measures of Non-Repetition in Transitional Justice: The Missing Link?

42 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2016

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Date Written: March 10, 2016


The international transitional justice soft law framework breaks the obligations of states to combat impunity and provide reparation into a number of discrete tasks, including truth seeking, telling, accountability, and reparations for victims. The most amorphous of these tasks is ‘guarantees of non-repetition’. While the basic idea is clear - whatever measures are needed to prevent a recurrence of the serious human rights violations or international crimes committed in the past - the content of this idea has been unduly narrowed over the years. In practice, it generally means vetting or restructuring of security forces, and measures to increase the independence and effectiveness of the formal judiciary. The chapter explores the possibility of expanding the view of what is meant, to encompass a more transformative non-repetition of the conditions likely to lead to renewed conflict. It looks at several attempts to do just that, through peace accords, truth commission recommendations or other means. It briefly considers the Philippines and Colombia as examples of how such an approach might work. It explores whether, given the risks of a broad “transformative” approach, a more fulsome view of measures of non-repetition could serve to both expand and appropriately limit the concept.

Keywords: human rights law

Suggested Citation

Roht-Arriaza, Naomi, Measures of Non-Repetition in Transitional Justice: The Missing Link? (March 10, 2016). UC Hastings Research Paper No. 160, Available at SSRN: or

Naomi Roht-Arriaza (Contact Author)

UC Law, San Francisco ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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