Opinion

    Political resistance: how cross-cutting frictions drive and define transitional justice in Tunisia
    18.07.18
    Mariam Salehi

    Transitional justice is inherently political. It emerges from political concerns, influences politics and power structures. In a transitional society, transitional justice has an important role to play in shaping the ‘new political architecture’,[i] in deciding who may participate in what capacity in future politics, as well as in granting access to material and non-material resources that in turn may facilitate access to decision-making procedures and positions of power. After the uprising in 2010/11 that culminated in the fall of the authoritarian regime of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia...

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    Opinion : transitional justice amendment in Nepal not "acceptable" , according to victims
    22.06.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    The government of Nepal is preparing to register a new bill of controversial and highly contested transitional justice act in the parliament after 3 and half years of two transitional bodies formed in February 2015. In a historic verdicts of Supreme Court (26 February 2015) on behalf of conflict victims legal petitions against flaws in the previous Act (the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, 2014), government established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Disappeared Commission to investigate war era (1996-2006) crimes without...

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    Lebanon Edges Closer Toward Truth for Families of the Missing and Disappeared
    07.06.18
    Nour El Bejjani Noureddine, ICTJ

    Life continues to stand still for the many families of the missing and disappeared in Lebanon who have been desperately trying to uncover the fate of their loved ones and who are holding out hope of seeing them someday. The Lebanese War ended 28 years ago, but for these families the war rages on. During Lebanon’s 15-year civil war, thousands of people went missing or were disappeared without a trace or explanation. Their families have never stopped waiting for answers, answers they fear will never come. The Lebanese government has failed to adequately address the issue of the missing...

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    Iraq: Impartial Justice Effort Needed
    01.06.18
    Human Rights Watch

    A new United Nations investigation of crimes committed by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in Iraq was not given the mandate that the situation calls for, Human Rights Watch said today. On May 31, 2018, the United Nations secretary-general appointed Karim Khan to head a team tasked with collecting and preserving evidence of serious crimes committed by ISIS in Iraq. The team was created based on a UN Security Council resolution unanimously adopted on September 21, 2017. The resolution mandates the investigative team to document serious crimes committed by ISIS but failed to include...

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    Opinion : in Nepal, impunity for perpetrators
    30.05.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    On the Republican day on 29 May 2018, government released a criminally convicted former parliamentarian and ex-Maoist leader Balkrishna Dhungel from jail, who was arrested by Supreme Court order in October 2017 and other 815 convicted persons across the country. Former lawmaker Dhungel was recommended for pardon by the cabinet, which said that he had served 40 percent of his sentence, and fulfilled the criteria for presidential pardon as per the article (276) of the constitution. Upon release on the Republican day in the capital, Dhungel slammed rights activists and lawyers who...

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    Opinion : Nepali war victims demand real reparations and remembrance
    13.05.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    In Nepal, the Conflict Victim Common Platform (CVCP) has submitted an advocacy paper on “reparative needs, rights and demands” to the Justice Minister and the country's two transitional justice bodies, in the hope of creating momentum for a national policy of reparation. Victims are urging the government to address their needs through urgent support in terms of livelihoods, health, education, employment, remembrance and recognition, based on prior consultations with victims of the civil war.  CVCP has demanded that the government declare a “national remembrance day” in memory of the...

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    OPINION: Justice and press freedom go hand in hand
    03.05.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    In Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial, Joseph K’s friend Ms Burstner says: “I find stories about justice extremely interesting. Justice has a strange power of seduction, don’t you think?” This is a terrible irony given the trial in the book, which has become a symbol of totalitarianism and tyranny. Justice and press freedom are good indicators of overall freedom in a country. The UN ritually celebrates press freedom for one day on May 3, and this year the theme is “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law”.It is right to link justice and media, even if their practices and ways...

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    What exactly are foreign troops protecting in the Sahel?
    27.04.18
    Institute for security studies

    Foreign military footprints, especially those of the United States (US) and France, are expanding in West Africa, particularly in the Sahel. This presence is receiving increasingly hostile public criticism. It is often considered invasive, and at times ill-adapted and ineffective against growing insecurity, and even counterproductive. Regarding the opening of a US military base in Ghana, President Nana Akufo-Addo said in April, ‘So let me state with the clearest affirmation that Ghana has not offered a military base, and will not offer a military base to the United States of America.’ This...

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    A scholar’s journey to understand the needs of Pol Pot’s survivors
    18.04.18
    John Ciorciari

    Forty-three years ago today, the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia. Their radical regime, led by the dictator Pol Pot, inflicted countless atrocities and left deep wounds. Neighbors turned against one another. Families were fractured. Political cleavages deepened. An estimated 1.7 million people died. Almost everyone suffered personal trauma. Survivors are still in the long process of seeking reconciliation, or putting the pieces back together in lives and societies shattered by conflict. Yet the measures taken to address political and social conflict are not always conducive to...

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    Pressure needed to save transitional justice in Nepal
    15.04.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Nepal’s government and security forces have been obstructing the country’s transitional justice (TJ) process and threatening human rights activists. But now they say they are ready to address victims’ demands and amend TJ legislation. This is a crucial phase of the process, requiring joint national and international pressure on the authorities to ensure that the voices of thousands of civil war victims are heard.  Existing transitional justice mechanisms are failing to listen to victims’ voices and seem loyal to the government. They have a very limited legal mandate to fully investigate the...

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    Preventing sexual violence: lessons from rebel armies in Burundi and Uganda
    11.04.18
    The Conversation, Angela Muvumba Sellström

    I conduct research on wartime sexual violence. But hold on. My work focuses on the non-cases: armed political actors which have committed little sexual violence and have a history of disciplining their members’ sexual behaviour. This effort seems ridiculously extraneous in the current climate. Just in the last years, Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Daesh) in Syria and Iraq have systematically abducted and abused thousands of women and girls. However, as researcher Elisabeth Jean Wood has demonstrated, sexual violence patterns vary because...

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    Rwandans discuss how best to commemorate genocide
    10.04.18
    The Conversation

    Rwanda is commemorating the 24th anniversary of the 1994 Tutsi genocide. This claimed the lives of between 800,000 and one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus over 100 days. This is a good time to reflect on the history of policy and practice of memory, justice, and recovery in the country over the past 24 years. Two questions are especially pertinent: how have Rwandans engaged in various forms of memory after genocide? How have these processes been meaningful? From a series of nearly 60 interviews conducted in the country since 2015, I have learned from a diversity of perspectives about...

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    Hope for Nepal’s flawed transitional justice?
    20.03.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Nepal’s Commission on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) and victims’ group NEFAD have agreed a common platform, including action on ratifying international instruments on enforced disappearances, effective victims’ protection, integral support to families for their livelihood, security and memorialization, and introducing legal protection for the future by framing a disappearance law soon. This offers some hope for the country’s flawed transitional justice (TJ) process.  After three years of failed implementation and no results, the mandates of the two TJ commissions – the CIEDP and the...

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    In Colombia, FARC leader ends presidential bid, giving transitional justice a chance
    14.03.18
    The Conversation

    In a decision with far-reaching consequences for Colombia’s fragile peace process, the FARC – a political party formed by former Marxist guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – has withdrawn from the country’s presidential race after candidate Rodrigo Londoño underwent open-heart surgery in Bogota. The 59-year-old Londoño, who as leader of the violent rebel group used the name Timochenko, had a heart attack in 2015. Last year, not long after signing a historic peace deal with the Colombian government, he suffered a stroke. Despite concerns that his health problems were...

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    Why China’s removal of term limits is a gift to African Presidents
    09.03.18
    David E Kiwuwa Associate Professor of International Studies, Princeton Univers

      Chinese President Xi Jinping has led social and economic transformation. Wu Hong /EPA   The recent sitting of the central committee of the Chinese Communist Party(CCP) rolled out a big surprise development: a proposed removal of presidential term limits. This came among a raft of other constitutional amendments. The two-term limit had been instituted in 1982 by Deng Xiaoping after his experience with the chaotic post-Mao succession. Term limits were instituted to facilitate orderly succession and to support China’s reform era. China’s economic transformation wasn’t to be disrupted or sidetracked by unnecessary political struggles and uncertainty. Consequently, successive...

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    Week in Review: Rule of law under threat in Tanzania and Tunisia
    04.03.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    Tanzania is one of the rare African countries known for being peaceful, democratic and multi-ethnic. Its revered former long-time president Julius Nyerere decided, unlike many of his counterparts, to withdraw from power in 1985. But since the election of President John Magufuli in late 2015, Tanzania is losing this positive image envied by its neighbours. “Murders and attempted murders of opponents, suspension of media deemed critical, disappearances of journalists, harassment of human rights activists and artists have reached an unprecedented level,” writes JusticeInfo. We point to the...

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    Myanmar's government, the Rakhine crisis and media access
    26.02.18
    SITHU AUNG MYINT | FRONTIER

    The Myanmar government’s response to an Associated Press report about civilians buried in a mass grave at a northern Rakhine village has again focused attention on a counterproductive media access ban to the area imposed nearly five months ago. Foreign media coverage of Rakhine State made headlines again this month when the Union government denied a report by the Associated Press about the discovery of mass graves containing civilians and accused the American newsagency of harming the country’s image. The report also angered the Rakhine State government, which said it planned to...

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    Unfair ISIS Trial in Iraq Hands Women Harshest Sentences
    22.02.18
    Human Rights Watch

    Six months after about 1,400 foreign women and children surrendered with Islamic State (ISIS) fighters to Iraqi security forces, Iraq’s courts are sentencing the women to life in prison and even to death for non-violent crimes. It’s just one indicator of how people viewed as colluding with ISIS are receiving unfair trials. The women have been charged with illegally entering Iraq and, in some cases aiding, abetting or having membership in ISIS, which carries the penalty of life in prison or death under Iraq’s counterterrorism law. In January, Baghdad’s Criminal Court sentenced a German...

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    Opinion: Nepal’s victims want real results from transitional justice
    15.02.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    The one-year extensions of Nepal’s two transitional justice mechanisms without necessary legal and institutional reforms ordered by the Supreme Court and the United Nations are insufficient to comply with international standards, international human rights groups said this week. Conflict victims have welcomed the extensions, but remain dissatisfied with the commissions. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists also said that “despite flaws in the law, and questions of legitimacy and capacity, victims and their families have given the benefit of...

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    Brazil: Court decision puts spotlight on crimes against indigenous people
    15.02.18
    Fabio Cascardo

    In a historic decision regarding crimes against humanity committed by the military dictatorship (1964-1985) against the indigenous Kinja people (also known as Waimiri-Atroari), the Brazilian Federal Justice of the state of Amazonas put out restraining orders against the Federal Government and the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), opening the way for an unprecedented judicial acknowledgement of the violence suffered by the Kinja Indigenous during that period. In this first writ on 01.19.2018 the court obliged the Federal Government to present in the next 15 days all the documents...

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