Opinion

    Nepal: "I have been naming the people responsible for my father’s disappearance"
    19.10.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    The conflicting parties’ alliance (Nepali Congress and Maoist Centre) to share power in the government has destroyed the norms of justice and the agenda set by the Peoples’ Movement. They abused their authority without addressing conflict survivors’ key demands for truth and social justice. When the top level leaders from both sides of the conflict built an alliance with security forces to forget about past abuses, compromising standards for their mutual benefit and position, the hope for fair trials and justice has become a distance one for ordinary citizens. Instead of creating hope...

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    Outrage at Suu Kyi over Rohingya crisis is “exaggerated”, says expert
    01.10.17
    Frédéric Burnand, correspondent in Geneva

    The crisis that has been taking place in Myanmar since August – an attack by Muslim rebels, bloody clampdown by the army and flight to Bangladesh of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya people – has provoked outrage across the world and denial from Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Syi, who is the country’s de facto leader. But Matthias Huber, a Swiss expert on Myanmar, says the world is being too hard on Suu Kyi. The United Nations announced on Wednesday it was preparing a humanitarian aid plan in case all the Rohingyas of Myanmar (also known as Burma) flee to Bangladesh to escape the...

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    In Nepal Transitional justice in crisis
    27.09.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    How can Truth Commissions function properly in a place like Nepal where alleged perpetrators set the agenda and control the commissioners in a situation of continuing insecurity where both victims and witnesses cannot speak out openly? The situation now, 11 years since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), is more complex and dangerous than the end of conflict in 2006. Security forces (both Nepal Army and Nepal Police) are becoming more powerful, and have almost destroyed evidence about past violations held in government offices. They intervene in every process, including blocking...

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    Guinea: 8 Years Later, Justice for Massacre Needed (NGO)
    27.09.17
    HRW

    (Conakry) – Guinea should move ahead to deliver justice, truth, and reparation for the grave crimes committed on September 28, 2009, at a Conakry stadium, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Association of Victims, Parents and Friends of the September 28 Massacre said today in advance of the massacre’s eighth anniversary. On that day, security forces massacred more than 150 peaceful protesters, and more than 100 women were raped. Hundreds of injuries and widespread looting were also documented. An investigation into the crimes by a panel of Guinean investigating judges,...

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    Central African Republic: 12 peace plans in 10 years and still at war
    20.09.17
    Pierre Hazan

    In the last ten years, the Central African Republic has had a dozen peace plans. None have ever been implemented. Here we look back and analyse this serial failure, as people close to armed groups are admitted into government. This move by the president, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, “in the name of national reconciliation” comes as UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien warned there are “early warning signs of genocide in the Central African Republic”. Is the Central African Republic (CAR) a serial killer of peace plans? From the 2007 Sirte accord concluded under the late “Mediator and Guide...

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    The Rakhine crisis in Myanmar and the government’s options
    19.09.17
    Sithu Aung Myint, Frontier

    The Myanmar government’s policy options for troubled Rakhine state are a choice between an army strategy focused on the 1982 Citizenship Law or implementing recommendations in the final report by the Annan commission. The coordinated attacks by extremists on 30 police posts and a Tatmadaw (army) camp in northern Rakhine in the early hours of August 25 came as no surprise to many political observers and conflict analysts. The attacks, which initially claimed the lives of 10 policemen, a soldier and two government officials, and also left dozens of extremists dead, followed a disturbing rise...

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    Week in Review: How words count in transitional justice
    18.09.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    Transitional justice is also a question of words, like genocide or ethnic cleansing, resonant with bloody memories of Rwanda or the Balkans. Short of words to describe the massacre of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar’s army, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres nevertheless recognized this week that it amounted to “ethnic cleansing”. "When one-third of the Rohingya population has got to flee the country, can you find a better word to describe it?" Guterres answered when questioned on his choice of words. But for the country’s de facto leader, Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, this is a...

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    UN genocide warning in Central African Republic reflects powerlessness
    12.09.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    When should one warn of genocide? Was the UN right to raise the alarm in recent days about a genocidal pattern in the Central African Republic? Is there not a risk that invoking the “crime of crimes” too quickly could devalue the term “genocide” and reduce its power to raise the alarm? In August, United Nations aid chief Stephen O’Brien warned the UN Security Council that there were “early signs of a genocide” in the Central African Republic (CAR). He was criticized by nearly all experts on the country for being overly alarmist. “Genocide is a precise concept,” explained Didier...

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    Colombia's FARC rebels need a leader
    12.09.17
    Fabio Andres Diaz

    Ever since Colombia signed its fragile, contested peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in November 2016, the big question has been: What will this no-longer-armed insurgency do next? On Aug. 28, the FARC made its official reply. In its first congress since disarmament, the Marxist guerrilla group unveiled Colombia’s newest political party: the Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común, or Commoners’ Alternative Revolutionary Force. “The new party will be built with many voices and diverse ideas,” announced Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, the FARC’s top...

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    Unchecked Abuses by the Malian Army, according to HRW
    08.09.17
    HRW

     Mali and Burkina Faso military operations to counter the growing presence of Islamist armed groups in central Mali have resulted in serious human rights violations. Since late 2016, Malian forces have committed extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and arbitrary arrests against men accused of supporting Islamist armed groups, while a June 2017 cross-border operation by Burkinabe forces left two suspects dead. Human Rights Watch documented three common graves believed to contain the remains of at least 14 men executed after being detained by Malian soldiers since...

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    Kenya’s Supreme Court has given an impossible deadline for the repeat election
    06.09.17
    Dominic Burbidge

    The Kenyan Supreme Court has found that the August 8 presidential election result is invalid. It blames the electoral commission, not the declared winner, Uhuru Kenyatta. Kenya’s leading newspaper praises the decision as a step towards the rule of law, but I am less sure about what this means for the ability of the political establishment to stick to the terms of the country’s constitution. The Supreme Court has given the country 60 days to hold fresh elections. The time period is in accordance with section 140 (3) of the Constitution, but the court failed to tell the public exactly...

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    To Prevent Enforced Disappearances, Rethink the Justice and Security Equation
    31.08.17
    David Tolbert

    Nearly every city and village in Syria has a story to tell about enforced disappearances: civilians being snatched off the streets or from their homes by the police, Syrian military or an armed group, never to be heard from again. The victims are usually tortured, killed or enslaved. Their families are left haunted, not knowing if their loved ones are alive or dead. Today, we are seeing an alarming rise in the incidence of enforced disappearances around the world, particularly in a number of the “Arab Spring” states, such as Syria, Egypt and Yemen, where reaction has triumphed...

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    Agony of Afghanistan’s Enforced Disappearances, according to HRW
    30.08.17
    Patricia Gossman

    As the world marks International Day of the Disappeared on August 30, learning the fate of the tens of thousands of Afghans who have been victims of enforced disappearance over the past four decades seems ever more remote. For their family members, that failure is like a wound that has never healed. Four years ago, Mohammad Rahim’s family finally held funeral services for him – 34 years after Afghanistan’s secret police took him away, never to be seen again.   The ceremony took place after Rahim’s name finally appeared on a “death list” of people detained and ordered executed in...

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    Charlottesville is part of our nation’s moral reckoning
    29.08.17
    Derek W. Black

    The number and exuberance of white nationalists who descended on Charlottesville sent emotional tremors through the nation. Some worried that this was the beginning of an expanding movement that would hearken us back to darker times. And many felt that President Donald Trump’s comments only made matters worse. The president’s implied moral equivalency between racist elements and counterprotesters emboldened the former: David Duke, a white nationalist leader and former KKK grand wizard, thanked the president for his “honesty” and willingness to “condemn the leftist terrorists.” As a...

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    Pre-Meditated Madness, the International Criminal Court, and Preliminary Examinations
    29.08.17
    Mark Kersten

    Attention among observers and scholars of international criminal justice has increasingly focused on what happens before the International Criminal Court (ICC) intervenes in a situation and issues arrest warrants for perpetrators of international crimes. Prior to the ICC opening an official investigation, the Office of the Prosecutor must conduct a so-called “preliminary examination” to determine whether a full-out intervention is justified. Despite growing scrutiny, the practices encompassed within the preliminary examination stage of ICC interventions remain under-examined and...

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    Disappeared in Nepal : The survivors'unanswered questions
    29.08.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Every year, as part of the global movement against enforced disappearances, we commemorate the International Day Against Enforced Disappearance. On this day, we, raise up the voices of families affected by enforced disappearance, express solidarity with the struggle for justice worldwide, and remember our beloved family members who were forcibly taken away from their communities and never seen again.  From 1996-2006, Nepal endured a civil war in which hundreds of citizens were forcibly disappeared by state forces and the Maoist rebels. It is a human tragedy to live in a state of...

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    Week in Review: Disunity over the past
    25.08.17
    François Sergent JusticeInfo.net

    Looking again at a divided past is part of transitional justice. How can a country, an institution come to terms with the memory of a past which still divides people? Sylvie Wuhrmann, director of the Fondation de l’Hermitage art gallery in Lausanne, Switzerland, puts it rather elegantly: “We should not punish the works of art because of their past. A museum is not a court but a place of remembrance.” The gallery is currently showing the exceptional art collection of Bürhle, a naturalized Swiss who made money selling canons to the Nazis. In an article published by our partner The...

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    Post-Charlottesville: Should we write off the past?
    22.08.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    The French revolutionaries dreamed of writing off the past. But it is not so easy to throw the legacy of time past into the dustbin of history when it directly affects the present and future. This is the drama that played out recently in Charlottesville.  Through the fate of General Lee’s statue, what was at stake in Charlottesville was not what happened in the War of Secession (1861-1865), but rather the way Americans see themselves at a crucial turning point. For the first time, Americans citizens are contemplating the fact that in two decades Whites will be in the minority in the US....

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    Rwanda: Presidential Elections in a context of very limited open political space, according to HRW
    18.08.17
    HRW

    (Nairobi) – Presidential elections in Rwanda on August 4, 2017, took place in a context of very limited free speech or open political space, Human Rights Watch said today, as President Paul Kagame is sworn in for a seven-year term. Human Rights Watch released a chronology of violations of the right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly in Rwanda between the country’s December 2015 referendum – allowing the president to run for a third term – and the election, which Kagame won with a reported 98.79 percent of the vote. “Kagame’s landslide win came as no surprise in a...

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    Women's struggle in Myanmar is not a myth
    16.08.17
    Khin Chan Myae Maung, Frontier

    The argument that gender inequality is not an issue in Myanmar is simply not borne out by the facts on the ground.Women’s rights is not a topic that needs a long-winded introduction; it has been a fight that has been taken up by millions across the globe in the hope of achieving basic human rights for women - young and old, born or chosen - everywhere. Despite the protests and movements made in the name of women rights, in this day and age there are still those who believe our struggle is not real. The issue of a lack of gender equality is by no means a myth – as was argued by the author of...

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