Widening the circle: Can peacemaking work outside of tribal communities?
....This report was originally written as a guide for participants in the roundtable but raises practical questions for anyone interested in adapting peacemaking to non-tribal settings. After providing an overview of peacemaking, the paper outlines key issues jurisdictions will most likely want to consider during planning and implementation....
Mediating criminal matters in the Ethiopian criminal justice system: The prospect of restorative justice
In Ethiopia, the use of mediation process as a traditional method of dispute resolution has been practiced for centuries. Even today in rural areas, particularly criminal dispute resolution processes dealing with victims and criminal offenders are widely practiced and deep rooted with varying degrees among the different ethnic groups in the country. For instance, the use of mediation process through Jaarsaa Biyya or Jaarsaa Araara among the Oromo and the other ethnic groups has been used.
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.
First Nations Court opens in North Vancouver
The judge is out of her usual judging clothes and the court sheriff wears no gun.
It’s not immediately apparent — not at first — if these are just oversights, but when Judge Joanne Challenger turns from the convicted man to the packed public gallery and asks for any suggestions on sentencing and the hands go up, it becomes clear: First Nations Court is different.
I just saw Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation last night. I’m not going to send formal reviews (do I ever?) but I just want to share my feeling that it is a really great film.
....One aspect of the film surprised me because it wasn’t the aspect of the film that was publicized. Farhadi’s depiction of the Iranian justice system as chaotic, overwhelmed, but intensely immediate and direct, is quite powerful as a ground for other aspects of the drama.... One might say that the film gives an insight into what might be right about the Iranian system in comparison with our own.
Our law needs some cleansing
The idea that the enactment of the Traditional Courts Bill recognises and protects customary law institutions, is part of restoring the humanity and dignity that blacks were stripped of by apartheid, is an exercise in falsehood.
Mediation in penal case reconciliation
reviewed by Martin Wright
The idea of retribution for wrongdoing is deeply ingrained, and its extreme form is the blood feud or revenge killing. Professor Elezi describes the long struggle to eliminate it in one country. A Western reader, on learning that there are still blood feuds in parts of Albania, may dismiss them as a relic from more primitive times; but perhaps it is worth reflecting that the principle is still at work among gangs in our big cities and, some would say, in civil wars and international conflicts. So it is interesting to see how it has been tackled in Albania.
Justice, reconciliation and peacebuilding: Seen through African eyes
In 2000 the Catholic Diocese of Damongo in collaboration with the Catholic Relief Services started a peace project to build local capacity for justice-building, reconciliation and peace-building. In the course of my work I had to deal with the issue of the relevance of a Western style peace-building in African conflicts. Why not use the African traditional systems of conflict resolution? Implicit in these statements is the assumption that the Western style is foreign and in effective. African traditional systems work better in an African setting. African conflicts, African solutions. At the international level, indigenous and traditional practices of peace-building are regarded as unaccountable, opague and contradictory to the “enlightened” intentions of Western form of peacebuilding (liberal Peace) and internationally sponsored post war reconstruction efforts.
Restorative justice: Updating Jirga in NWFP Pakistan
I and my partner, Sarah Bird, met Ali Gohar when we travelled to Pakistan to teach Energy Psychology techniques for treating PTSD after the earthquake of October 2005. This article from Peacebuilder magazine tells about the amazing work Ali is doing with the traditional restorative justice circle, called 'jirga'...
Ali Gohar, MA ’02, is working to update the traditional system of jirga in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. He believes passionately in the core function of jirga, whereby certain elders are recognized in their communities for their wisdom and ethics; these elders gather to make community-wide decisions, resolve problems, and dispense justice.
Gohar has been encouraging jirga’s elders to incorporate current principles of human rights, conflict resolution, reconciliation, and restorative justice into their deliberations.
Fania Davis on differences between traditional and modernist constructions of justice
Traditional and modernist constructions of justice differ in a number of ways. First, a communal and participatory ethos pervades indigenous justice approaches. Indigenous justice proceedings tend to involve an expansive range of participants. All affected persons are actively engaged—each of the parties in conflict, their extended families, traditional elders, and community members at large. The process tends to be consensus-based and more egalitarian than hierarchical.
On the other hand, in modern justice proceedings, the range of participants is quite restricted, typically limited to the two sides in conflict, along with a group of justice professionals who dominate the proceedings. Crime is impersonally viewed as an offense against the state rather than as an injury to a person or to relationships. The victim is usually excluded, except as a witness to support the “state’s” case. Offender-focused, modern justice asks: What law was broken, who broke it, and what punishment is deserved?