- Showing 4 posts filed under: Region: Africa [–] published between Nov 01, 2009 and Nov 30, 2009 [Show all]
Promoting international support for community-based justice mechanisms in post-conflict Burundi and Uganda
Those who committed crimes in the long wars in Burundi and Uganda are wanted by both the national and international criminal court system, but very little attention is given to peacebuilding, reconciliation, or restoration of the communities destroyed by violence. For example, the reconciliation process of mato oput, an Acholi tradition in northern Uganda, and the Ubushingantahe in Burundi, uniquely achieve justice and healing of the concerned parties in a way that a formal justice system cannot. These methods of restorative justice emphasize community-building and the need to reconcile an entire society after conflict.
To complete this project, interviews with both victims and perpetrators of crime, as well as implementers of restorative justice programs were conducted in Burundi and Uganda. Using this local perspective, the paper elevates the need for international recognition and support for restorative justice mechanisms in post-conflict communities in Africa. Civil society has an important role to play in elevating awareness of these traditions and practices, and the U.S. government can enhance restorative justice through both leverage and funding. Ultimately, it is imperative that Western governments and citizens around the world perceive restorative justice as a legitimate and much-needed form of justice.
Challenging crime and criminal justice systems in Africa: Towards restoration of Afrocentric justice
Don Omale reports on an international seminar conducted in Abuja, Nigeria on 8 October 2009:
The seminar organised by a network of African organisations working on peace, security and conflict created an opportunity aimed at influencing reforms in the criminal justice systems in Africa. It also serves as a dialogue forum for drawing attention to the effects of crime and defective criminal justice systems on the
sustainability of the democratic and developmental process of Africa. Recommendations from the seminar also aim to complement the formal National Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD)-Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process.
Engaging diasporas in truth commissions: Lessons from the Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission (LTRC) Diaspora Project
The LTRC recognized that several aspects of the Liberian context made involvement of the diaspora a critical component of the truth and reconciliation process in Liberia. Liberia's long-standing relationship with the US and the role played by the US during the conflict – both actions and omissions – provided a framework for examining the conflict. Also, key witnesses, alleged perpetrators, and other conflict actors were known to be residing in the diaspora, primarily in the US, but also in Europe and West Africa, and there was a widespread belief that the diaspora had played a critical role in fomenting and funding the conflict. Finally, the potential for harnessing diaspora resources was a further motivating factor for the LTRC. Commissioners expressed the hope that diaspora engagement could rally additional resources for reparations and development. Indeed, in its final report, the LTRC recommended that Liberians in the diaspora each contribute at least US$1.00 monthly to the Reparations Trust Fund ‘as the beginning of its contribution as citizens of Liberia to the economic and social development of their motherland.’
Forgiveness: Human or Divine?
Earlier this month the film As We Forgive, a documentary about Rwanda, was released on DVD (check out the trailer here). It does not chronicle the 1994 genocide, but what has come after: Rwanda's struggle to rebuild itself.