Rwanda genocide survivors back reconciliation
from the article from Aljazeera:
Frederic Kazigwemo was one of thousands of men who helped perpetrate the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Twenty years later, local residents elected him as Mbyo village's spokesperson.
Mbyo is a Reconciliation Village, located one hour's drive from the capital of Kigali. It's a microcosm of victims and perpetrators, Hutus and Tutsis, murderers and survivors, are neighbors. It's an attempt to rebuild the country.
Twenty years ago, a mass murder destroyed the Rwandan society. The genocide was sparked by the death of the then Rwandan Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana, whose plane was shot down on April 6 1994. In the hundred days that followed, some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by the Hutu majority.
Restorative justice lessons from Libya
from the article by John Braithwaite and Tamim Rashed:
One of the things we often say in lectures on restorative justice is that we do not know of any case where angry words in restorative justice conferences escalated to violence with physical injury. This is remarkable because stakeholders are often extremely angry. The explanation, we argue, is that even the worst and most violent among us, have multiple selves. The restorative justice conference is a strategy that coaxes us to put our ‘best self’ forward.
We always wince as we make this claim. We wonder if some of our practitioner colleagues really had restorative justice cases that had concluded with violence, but decided not to mention them because it was not a great accomplishment for this to happen. The day might come, we thought, when someone would jump up and say they knew of cases where violence broke out in conferences!
Confronting exclusion: Time for radical reconciliation
from the report by Kim Wale:
The 2013 South African Reconciliation Barometer (henceforth SARB or Reconciliation Barometer) Report pays closer attention to the relationship between reconciliation, inequality and exclusion. It posits that reconciliation becomes difficult when social divisions are the result of unequal power relations that are being perpetuated in society. Reconciliation, exclusion and inequality are intimately tied to one another. More often than not an imbalance in power results in the material, symbolic, political and social exclusion of marginalised sectors of society.
African women mobilize to build peace
….Women from Mozambique described ways they are working to create a culture of peace in their country after years of war.
“Since the signing of the peace agreement in 1992, we can live in peace,” Rute Uthui of United Methodist Women of Mozambique said through an interpreter. “In the church since last year we always talk about peace and the maintaining of peace on the radio and in the news. Our women’s group meets every Thursday, and we never walk out without talking about peace and what we can do to maintain it.
"We are facing now criminality. When those people are caught, some want to beat them, but we say, talk to them—punish them according to what they’ve done—but not the violence, talk to them about peace.”
The gods are angry
....There are more than 2,000 African ethnic groups but despite the incredible diversity there are striking commonalities among them. Whereas Western jurisprudence emphasizes punishing the guilty, the widespread African tradition stresses restitution and reconciliation or "restorative justice"—the basis of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commissions established after the dismantling of Apartheid.
Africa's economic heritage featured free village markets. There were rudimentary free markets in Timbuktu, Kano, Salaga, Onitsa, Mombasa and elsewhere before the advent of the colonial era.
Whereas the West practiced majoritarian, or representative, democracy, ancient Africans practiced participatory democracy, where decisions were taken by consensus at village meetings variously called asetena kese by the Ashanti, ama-ala by the Igbo, guurti by the Somali, dare by the Shona, ndaba by the Zulu or kgotla by the Tswana.
Gacaca: A successful experiment in restorative justice?
....The twofold reparative function of restorative justice is, however, crucial and so the extent to which gacaca’s emphasis on ‘truth-telling’ realised its desired outcome is subject to debate. To draw on Johnstone’s conception of restorative justice once again, the fact that gacaca failed to offer something positive, in the form of compensation, to meet the needs of the victims meant part of its reparative function was undermined.
Rwanda: Kagame commends Gacaca courts
The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis and its aftermath, said president Kagame, presented us with challenges that tested us all to limit. Among these challenges was redress for victims, perpetrators' accountability for their crimes and restoring harmony among Rwandans.
While Rwanda could have chosen the path of vengeance, or of general amnesty, Kagame said the people had chosen the hard but best way of justice and reconciliation. That is a victory to celebrate, he said on Monday during the official closing of the participative justice of Gacaca courts which started in June 2002.
Taylor war crimes verdict incomplete justice
The conviction of former Liberian President Charles Taylor amounts to only partial justice.
While many Sierra Leoneans are relieved to see Taylor finally convicted for his destructive role in their country's brutal civil war, his wanton destabilization elsewhere in West Africa hardly figured in the criminal proceedings against him.
Learning from Rwanda
....How do you mend a country when intimates killed intimates in such tightly knitted communities? How do you do justice when thousands of people were perpetrators and where you only have so much prison space? How do you do it?
Rwanda is doing it through a largely homegrown restorative justice methodology.
Stefaans Coetzee is the face of restorative justice
from the article by Bobby Jordan in The Sunday Times:
....Today is no ordinary day for the 33-year-old who grew up in an orphanage in Winburg in the Free State. Head slightly bowed, he looks up at two imams who have finally been allowed to visit him at Pretoria Central Prison. Their two previous attempts failed. The imams are from Rustenburg, where some of their congregation were nearly blown up by two Wit Wolwe bombs outside their mosque.
Now they want to ask Coetzee what it was all about.