Human rights violations characterize the image of many countries and regions. More and more war tribunals and reconciliation commissions are being established around the world to deal with systematic human rights violations. Reconciliation is seen as the basis for a new beginning in society and has also become the key concept of sustainable peace activities. To date, however, there has been insufficient research into whether reconciliation also helps individual victims and what form individual reconciliation processes take in the context of human rights violations.

The aim of the studies conducted was to examine the relationship between individual readiness for reconciliation and mental health among victims of human rights violations.

In a first step, a suitable questionnaire was developed and empirically tested to assess readiness to reconcile. The resulting Readiness to Reconcile Inventory (RRI) has already been used in several studies.

  • In a cross-sectional study, correlations between readiness to reconcile and mental health were analyzed among Kurdish refugees from Turkey.
  • In a cross-sectional study in Colombia, victims of the armed conflict were interviewed about their willingness to reconcile. All victims were displaced as a result of the violence in Colombia and participated in a land restitution program.
  • Another cross-sectional and longitudinal study investigated the relationship between war tribunals and individual readiness for reconciliation and mental health. For this purpose, victims of the Pol Pot regime who had applied as civilian joint plaintiffs in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia were interviewed before the first trial and after the first verdict.


The projects were funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and Psychology Beyond Borders.


Freie Universität Berlin; TPO Cambodia; Tierra y Vida Colombia; University of Bielefeld



Dr. Maya Böhm
Dr. Yuriy Nesterko
Tel.: (030) 30 39 06 -71


Schwerpunkte: Wissenschaftliche Begleitung, Internet-basierte Behandlungsansätze, Konsequenzen extremer Traumatisierung und Psychodiagnostik.