Monday, 19 May 2014

Truth and Reconciliation: What’s Next?

Filed under: Indigenous Peoples,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:20 PDT

Listen (podcast)


Earlier this month Michael spoke to Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, about the impact of residential schools on 150,000 Aboriginal children. He spent five years spent listening to the testimony of survivors from all over Canada after which he said, “Reconciliation is about forging and maintaining respectful relationships. There are no shortcuts”

The Canadian government formally apologized to survivors in 2008. The Commission was established after the government settled the largest class-action suit in Canadian history. But, according to some First Nations intellectuals and activists, it is all too little too late, and hardly a serious gesture of reconciliation.

Taiaiake Alfred, the founding Director of the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria, does not mince words – the issue is not reconciliation but rather “how to use restitution as the first step toward creating justice and a moral society.”

The writer, Lee Maracle, is equally blunt. She says that post-apology, Aboriginal people were expected to forgive the government and blend in with the rest of Canada. Ms. Maracle is one of Canada’s most prolific First Nations’ writers. Her novels include Ravensong, Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel and Daughters Are Forever.

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Monday, 7 April 2014

Why coexistence doesn’t equal reconciliation in Rwanda

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War,Rwanda,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:58 PDT

… fragments from a series of first-person accounts … collected to mark the 20th anniversary of Rwanda’s 100 days of slaughter. Taken together, they give extraordinary insight into the psychology of atrocity: how so many ordinary people – friends, neighbours, doctors, teachers, priests – could take part in the bloodletting.

They also hint at the moral complexity underlying Rwanda’s efforts to balance truth and reconciliation, justice and forgiveness…

Twenty years later, old resentments fester alongside new.

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Monday, 3 February 2014

Uganda: President’s NRA apology late, says Bigombe

President Yoweri Museveni should have long rendered his apology for the spate of abuses committed during the anti-insurgency campaign in the north and north-eastern part of the country by some reprobate elements in NRA/UPDF, state minister for water resources, Betty Bigombe has said.

Museveni made the apology at the NRA/NRM 28th Liberation Day anniversary in Mayuge district headquarters, expressing shock at the “shameful” atrocities that sullied the reputation of an army whose near impeccable disciplinary record had been integral in its successful guerrilla war…

When asked what the apology meant given her role in various peace initiatives, Bigombe said the move is a good gesture because those affected by the atrocities “always demand for justice to be done”.

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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Transitional Justice Should Take On Corruption

Filed under: Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 06:53 PDT

Large-scale corruption and economic crimes often go hand in hand with mass human rights abuses in authoritarian countries. The two are mutually reinforcing: Dictators gain and maintain power—and perpetuate impunity—through a combination of violent repression and the distribution of patronage and graft opportunities. The plunder of public wealth serves as both an incentive for retaining power by force, and a means of rewarding those who carry out or cover up regime crimes. Despite this connection, the mechanisms of transitional justice have not adequately dealt with the legacy of authoritarian corruption nor remedied its far-reaching socioeconomic effects.

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Friday, 27 September 2013

On reconciliation, memory and justice in Cambodia: Interview with Youk Chhang

Filed under: Cambodia,Human Rights,Media and Conflict,Religion and peacebuilding,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:40 PDT

Named as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2007 by Time magazine, Youk Chhang turned the misfortune and suffering of his childhood under the Khmer Rouge into a documentation centre detailing genocide under the Pol Pot regime which took around 2 million lives.

The Documentation Centre of Cambodia houses over 500,000 documents and 6,000 photographs, making it the largest archive of its kind. According to Chhang, it was an important source of evidence contributing to the establishment of the Cambodia Tribunal in 1997.

During his brief visit to Bangkok, Prachatai talked to Youk Chhang, Director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia and a genocide survivor about reconciliation, forgiveness and the future of Cambodia.

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Thursday, 19 September 2013

University of Victoria, Canada | HUMAN RIGHTS AND POLITICAL APOLOGY “What comes after the government says sorry?” | 26 September, 5-7 pm

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Film screening and panel discussion with film director Mitchell Miyagawa and political scientist Dr. Matt James

WHEN: Sept. 26, 2013 | 5:00-7:30pm
WHERE: University of Victoria | Harry Hickman (HHB) Room 105

*This event is free and open to the public… more details

Or watch the film here (Scroll down. 47 minutes):

Friday, 6 September 2013

Netherlands Supreme Court hands down historic judgment over Srebrenica genocide

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:37 PDT

A Dutch Supreme Court judgment finding the state liable for the deaths of three Muslim men amid the Srebrenica genocide marks a significant victory in the decades-long search for accountability, Amnesty International said today.

“Nearly two decades on from Srebrenica, this Dutch case marks the first time an individual government has been held to account for the conduct of its peacekeeping troops under a UN mandate,” said Jezerca Tigani, Deputy Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International.

According to the court, Dutch troops serving as UN peacekeepers in Srebrenica sent three Bosniak Muslim men away from a “safe area” on 13 July 1995. This effectively handed them over to Bosnian Serb forces, who went on to kill some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys; many of their bodies have still not been found.

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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

ICC: Could the Security Council Refer Only Assad’s Use of Chemical Weapons? | Kevin Jon Heller, Opinio Juris

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War,Middle East,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:48 PDT

An interesting discussion recently broke out on twitter about whether the Security Council could refer the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons — and only the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons — to the ICC…

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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Five years after residential schools apology, aboriginal groups say they’re still waiting for progress

Filed under: Indigenous Peoples,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:06 PDT

OTTAWA — Five years after Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s historic apology for the Indian residential school system, the words ring hollow for some who hoped they would represent a new relationship between the federal government and Aboriginal Canadians.

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Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Christopher Keith Hall obituary: Senior legal adviser of Amnesty International who played a leading role in the formation of the international criminal court

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War,Peaceworkers in the news,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:26 PDT

Christopher Keith Hall, who has died aged 66 after suffering from cancer, was a leading light in the formation of the international criminal court (ICC). As senior legal adviser of Amnesty International, he headed its international justice project and was a co-founder of the coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) behind the ICC.

The idea of such a court had lingered since the precedent of the international military tribunal in Nuremberg after the second world war. Then, in the 1990s, when the UN security council was unwilling to take strong action to prevent atrocities it set up two ad hoc courts – the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda – to at least warn the perpetrators of war crimes that they could not count on impunity. This reinforced the idea of a standing criminal tribunal to deliver international justice.

Amnesty International, led by Christopher, immediately became involved in the diplomatic negotiations culminating in the 1998 Rome Conference that adopted the ICC statute. He worked to ensure that the court would not only materialise, but would have the powers needed for maximum possible effect.

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Saturday, 11 May 2013

Former dictator Efrain Rios Montt convicted of genocide in Guatemala

Filed under: Human Rights,Indigenous Peoples,International Law: War,Latin America & Caribbean,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:47 PDT

Former dictator Efrain Rios Montt’s conviction of genocide is a historic moment in a country still healing from a brutal, three-decade civil war and his trial offered Guatemala’s oppressed indigenous communities their first chance to be heard, human rights activists said.

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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A thirst for justice delayed: Researchers explore Cambodian attitudes toward Khmer Rouge trials

Filed under: Cambodia,International Law: War,Transitional Justice — administrator @ 08:26 PDT
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Monday, 1 April 2013

Mapping hate speech to predict ethnic violence

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War,Media and Conflict,Rwanda,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:46 PDT

In the months leading up to the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the radio station Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines blanketed the country with anti-Tutsi propaganda, inciting its Hutu listeners to “exterminate the cockroaches.” During the genocide, the station took on an even more active role, reading out lists of people to be killed and their locations.

The role played by the station only became widely understood outside of Rwanda after the violence was over. Three of its former executives were eventually indicted by a U.N. tribunal for their part in the genocide, but what if the world had been monitoring Milles Collines before the killing started?

That’s the idea behind Hatebase, a new initiative from the Sentinel Project, a Canadian group that aims to use social media and other technology to identify early warning signals for ethnic conflict.

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Friday, 29 March 2013

Can We Afford to Forgive Atrocities?

Filed under: Human Rights,Latin America & Caribbean,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:10 PDT

In Guatemala next month, the former dictator Efraín Rios Montt will become the first head of state ever tried on genocide charges in a domestic court. Not all such efforts to prosecute crimes against humanity have proceeded peacefully.

Still, the quest to bring war criminals and vicious leaders to justice in international or domestic courts is part of a global trend toward greater accountability for human rights violations.

But do trials help secure peace after war, civil conflict and repression? Does the threat of prosecution make dictators more reluctant to step down? Would it be better for democracy if survivors could forgive perpetrators and move on?

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Monday, 4 February 2013

Australia: Lack of trust impedes reconciliation

Filed under: Indigenous Peoples,Restorative justice,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:30 PDT

Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians don’t trust each other but almost everyone agrees the relationship is important, Reconciliation Australia says.

The organisation’s Barometer 2012 report, which surveys the relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous people, says there has been little significant change in attitudes nationally.

The survey found we don’t trust each other and only about half of those surveyed felt proud of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, Reconciliation Australia co-chair Tom Calma says.

“Most people surveyed did not believe the relationship was very good and only half of those believe it was improving,” Dr Calma said.

However, it was a different story in a second survey, which found vast improvements in attitudes among indigenous and non-indigenous people working in organisations with a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

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Day of Prayer to Precede Seating of Wabanaki-Maine’s Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners

Filed under: Indigenous Peoples,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:27 PDT

When the Wabanaki tribes and the State of Maine signed an agreement in the spring of 2011 to create a Maine/Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation Process to heal the past abuses of Indian children in the state child welfare system, they envisioned a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as part of the process. Now the TRC members are calling for a day of prayer to help prepare them for the difficult work ahead.

The Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission announced in a press release that A Day of Reflection, Meditation and Prayer will take place on February 11 when people all over the state will be asked to pause at 11 a.m. to think about the importance of the TRC process and how everyone can support its three-part objective to uncover the truth, promote healing, and make recommendations for the best child welfare practices.

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Sudan: Human Rights Expert Pledges Support for Reconciliation in Darfur

Filed under: Africa files,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:25 PDT

Khartoum — UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mashood Baderin, vowed to support Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) in its efforts to achieve reconciliation in the western Sudan region.

The expert started Sunday a 7-day visit to Khartoum and Darfur region where he is expected to meet national and regional officials and civil society groups as well as foreign diplomats and UN representatives.

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Saturday, 25 August 2012

Peace in Northern Ireland: A model of success?

Filed under: Europe,News Watch Blog,Transitional Justice — administrator @ 18:11 PDT

Belfast, NI – While the Northern Ireland peace process should rightfully be considered a success, that doesn’t mean that the country does not suffer from many of the same problems as other, less successful, postwar countries.

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Friday, 24 August 2012

Senegal, AU seal deal on ex-Chad dictator trial

Filed under: Africa files,Transitional Justice — administrator @ 04:34 PDT

Senegal is putting Habre, former dictator of Chad, on trial for human rights abuse through the order of the The International Court of Justice.

“The holding of these proceedings will show that Africa can try Africa”. Earnestly the justice will be sought as Habre is seen as a symbol of impunity. His previous lawyer argued and successfully influenced the Senegalese authorities not to extradite him. The cooperation of the African Union (AU) and Senegal ought to be celebrated.

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Monday, 13 August 2012

What Burundi could teach Rwanda about reconciliation

Filed under: Rwanda,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:33 PDT

When people think of genocide in Africa, neighbouring Rwanda usually comes to mind after the slaughter of some 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus in 100 days in 1994.

But over the years Burundi, which has a similar ethnic make-up and tensions, has also faced killings by both Tutsi and Hutus, driving a wedge into the fabric of the nation…

… Burundi is now coping with ethnicity far better than its better-known neighbour.

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