Kenya: Justice for the victims, and the nation
In post-conflict countries, like Kenya in 2008, there are almost never clear winners in the showdown. Thank God for that: such victory usually follows genocide or mass murder, where one side is annihilated. Instead of such murderous clarity, millions of Kenyans must find the political accommodation that secures the sanctity, society and continuity of the nation.
That approach is recognised worldwide as a fundamental practice for protecting a fragile peace. The 2004 Report of the UN Secretary-General on ``The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies' asserts that ``we must learn to eschew one-size-fits-all formulas and the importation of foreign models, and, instead, base our support on national assessments, national participation and national needs and aspirations'. The Secretary-General goes on to support the ICC's existence as a necessary part of the array of approaches to finding justice and peace.
The truth about Truth Commissions: Why they do not function optimally in post-conflict societies
Countries that have undergone conflict generally experience extreme violence, social disruption, human suffering, and economic destruction, while authoritarian rule is characterized by the concentration of power in a small group of politicians who maintain control through the exclusion of political challengers and political repression.
Baraza justice: A case study of community led conflict resolution in D.R. Congo
from the article from Peace Direct:
Our Congolese partner Fondation Chirezi (FOCHI) has established a network of peace courts, or ‘barazas’, in war-torn eastern DR Congo. In 2014 we evaluated their impact, and found that lessons can be learned from this very cost effective and sustainable model, for other countries that suffer similar levels of violence.
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.