Activists berate Traditional Courts Bill in South Africa
The controversial Traditional Courts Bill, which its critics say will take the country back to the era of bantustans, is set to come under scrutiny at a series of public hearings in KwaZulu-Natal.
The sponsor of the bill, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, argues that the legislation seeks to affirm the recognition of traditional justice and its values based on restorative justice and reconciliation.
from the entry by Maanda Ntsandeni on Aljazeera:
....My journey to making Parole Camp began four years ago when a friend, Andrew May, invited me to South Africa's Pollsmoor Prison. Andrew, an American studying for his Masters of Law degree, was running a class on the Restorative Justice System for inmates approaching their release.
Like many South Africans frustrated by the country's soaring crime rates, I was deeply prejudiced towards anybody who had served time in prison - choosing to focus on my belief that they deserved punishment while overlooking the fact that they had served their dues behind bars.
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.
It could be different…
Recently, I’ve been working with a colleague in Liberia on issues related to pre-trial detention. In his country, as much as 85% of the prison population is awaiting trial. My colleague would like to see this change.
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.
Women key in making peace
from the article by Yvette Moore:
...."The first thing that came to my mind was, ‘Wow, finally an acknowledgement that, first, we [women] are the ones that bare the greatest brunt of all of the world’s conflicts,’” Ms. [Lehmah] Gbowee said, sharing her initial reactions to the news she and two other women had received the [2011 Nobel Peace Prize].
Child Justice Act undercut from within
Even before it began the rocky climb through the parliamentary process, the Child Justice Bill was considered to be internationally path-breaking legislation. It was born in the euphoria of the early 1990s in a country where youth had been considered politically lethal, whipping was a sentence, imprisonment the standard response to wrongdoing and torture considered a legitimate interrogation method.
The new legislation sought to provide restorative justice by diverting child offenders from this punitive justice system and keeping them out of prisons, which simply hardened criminality. It devised ways to work with offenders and victims to restore harmony in the community where the crime took place. Punishment would be tailored to the crime and dealt in a way that maintained the self-respect of the offender as well as the approval of both community and victim.
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.
Restorative Justice Centre helps change Roman Dutch law:
from RJC's website:
....The Restorative Justice Centre entered as amicus curiae in Le Roux v Dey, represented by the Centre for Child Law. Their submissions argued the common law should be developed to include a procedural step requiring reasonable engagement before court proceedings can be lodged. This way attempts to apologise must be the first resort, that failing, court proceedings may then be implemented. This is particularly important in cases involving children, as they are still developing and will naturally make mistakes as they grow and develop. The submissions were largely successful.
We can write the stories of peace with our lives
from the Fambul Tok website:
Fambul Tok (Krio for “Family Talk”) emerged in Sierra Leone as a face-to-face community-owned program bringing together perpetrators and victims of the violence in Sierra Leone’s eleven-year civil war through ceremonies rooted in the local traditions of war-torn villages. It provides Sierra Leonean citizens with an opportunity to come to terms with what happened during the war, to talk, to heal, and to chart a new path forward, together.
Fambul Tok is built upon Sierra Leone’s “family talk” tradition of discussing and resolving issues within the security of a family circle. The program works at the village level to help communities organize ceremonies that include truth-telling bonfires and traditional cleansing ceremonies—practices that many communities have not employed since before the war. Through drawing on age-old traditions of confession, apology and forgiveness, Fambul Tok has revived Sierra Leoneans’ rightful pride in their culture.