Dealing with the Past (DwP) concepts put at the core of their interest the question of how states come to terms with gross human rights violations after armed conflicts, authoritarian and dictatorial regimes.
The term Dealing with the Past was initially associated with the policy and efforts of post-war Germany as it came to terms with the experience and the consequences of Nazi ideology and extermination policy during the Third Reich. Over time, the original German model of DwP assumed broader perspectives. In addition to including judicial, administrative, and legislative measurements to address past crimes, it also incorporated private, public, and scholarly debates; educational and curriculum-focused, and artistic approaches to past crimes. Moreover, the questions on individual and collective guilt and responsibility became prevalent.
Often, the term Transitional Justice is used in a similar context, sometimes even as a synonym for DwP. In 2004, the Secretary General of the UN published a report on "The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies" using the following definition:
"Transitional Justice [...] comprises the full range of processes and mechanisms associated with a society's attempts to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses, in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation. These may include both judicial and non-judicial mechanisms, with differing levels of international involvement [...] and individual prosecutions, reparations, truth-seeking, institutional reform, vetting and dismissals, or a combination thereof."
These mechanisms correlate with several victim-oriented rights and state obligations:
forumZFD in the Western Balkans has DwP as its focus of engagement and core mandate. Whilst acknowledging the importance of judicial processes and institutional reforms, forumZFD explicitly highlights the need of non-judicial measures such as collective memory work and peace education on different levels of society, especially the grassroots, community-based level.
forumZFD's understanding and approach is a broad, comprehensive one and tries to give answer to several questions and shortcomings of current DwP- and TJ-concepts, such as:
 Report of UNSG on the Rule of Law and TJ in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies (S/2004/616) Available at: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N04/395/29/PDF/N0439529.pdf
 See for example Diane Enns: Justice after Violence. Critical perspectives from the Western Balkans, Studies in Social Justice, Vol. 7, No 2 (2013)