JusticeInfo.net is launched, as you can see!
We will talk about justice, law, remembrance, forgiveness and punishment in transition societies and beyond. How each society deals with its political violence, past and present.
JusticeInfo.net aims to bring information and debate on key questions of our time. The wars that are tearing the world apart are largely internal conflicts. More than 80% of those who are dying are civilians. And there are 50 million refugees in the world, the highest number since the Second World War.
How can a community be rebuilt after massive violations of human rights? When the guns have fallen silent, how can a society move from being divided to inclusive? At the heart of rebuilding war-torn societies are questions of justice, rule of law, identities forged and damaged by memories of crimes committed.
Reconciliation is the goal of punishment and forgiveness policies adopted by dozens of countries now and in the past, including Germany in 1945, post-apartheid South Africa, Cambodia, Argentina, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and Central African Republic.
So a platform for news and debate is clearly needed, a space dedicated specifically to these issues at the crossroads of law, politics, history, philosophy and morals, both individual and of society. These are issues that often inflame passions and polarize opinion, whether it be amnesty, fear of victor’s justice, outside interference, plea bargains for those who confess, the rewriting of history or remodelling of national identities.
Dealing with these subjects requires an independent media platform that neither plays spokesperson for the tribunals and truth commissions nor systematically defends international justice. It needs to be in English and French (JusticInfo.net will also carry some content in Arabic) and it needs to be a free service.
That is why we have created Justiceinfo.net. It would never have seen light of day without the determination of Fondation Hirondelle and the support of its journalists in Mali, the Central African Republic and other conflict and post-conflict countries. Nor could JusticeInfo.net have been born without the support of our partners, Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR) and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), as well as the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the United Nations Development Programme in Tunisia.
To mark the launch, JusticeInfo.net and its partner OTJR, along with Oxford University’s Centre for Criminology, are organizing public debates on the role of media in transition societies at the University of Oxford on June 22 and 23.
Our aim is to understand and analyse the whole field of transitional justice, provoke debate, give a voice to people in transition societies who are rarely heard, enrich the discussions with contributions from specialists, transitional justice actors and activists, hold the institutions responsible for justice mechanisms to account. That is the challenge that JusticeInfo.net is taking up.
Jean-Marie Etter, CEO Fondation Hirondelle
Pierre Hazan, Head of Project Justiceinfo.net
François Sergent, Editor in Chief Justiceinfo.net