- Showing 4 posts filed under: National Reconciliation [–] published between Aug 01, 2009 and Aug 31, 2009 [Show all]
Looking to the future: Justice and reconciliation in Cambodia
As my plane touched down in Cambodia almost a month ago, I was prepared to witness the detrimental affects that genocide had on the country. Two weeks of classes prior to my arrival made me expect the worst. Ready to walk into Cambodia circa 1979, I imagined Phnom Penh as I had seen it in pictures; a desolate city with blank, desperate expressions upon the faces of all of its war weary inhabitants, bodies lying on the side of the road, bomb shells littering the countryside. To my surprise, Phnom Penh was a noisy, bustling city packed with people and motorcycles speeding by. The people on those motorcycles mostly looked happy, with their families and loved ones enjoying an evening ride. Although poverty is all around, the city seems to overcome this with the bustling activity of its inhabitants and the fixed smiles painted on their faces. I realized that I was no longer in a country enveloped in a culture of fear and constant war; it was clear to me that a new dawn was rising in Cambodia, and that the youthful and motivated population were ready to pick up the pieces of its shattered past.
Is there a role for restorative justice in addressing public education issues in Mississippi?
This is in an interdisciplinary seminar, which will be conducted over the course of two semesters, and open to undergraduate honors students, law and graduate students. After a brief introduction into the concept of restorative justice, the first semester will be devoted to the study of existing data and research into other sources in order to gain a full understanding of the history of public education in Mississippi, with emphasis on how the issue of race has informed educational policy and the status of education in Mississippi today.
The second semester will consider potential remedies from a perspective of restorative justice.
Book Review: As We Forgive
“If they told you that a murderer was to be released into your neighborhood, how would you feel? But what if this time, they weren’t just releasing one, but forty thousand?”
-A survivor of the Rwandan genocide
As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda, Catherine Claire Larson's new book, addresses this and other questions raised by the recent release of fifty thousand men and women who took part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Thanks to the work of several restorative justice ministries and other groups, a growing number of Rwandans have begun to heal and have sometimes even been reconciled with those who murdered their friends and family. Larson intersperses the stories of several of these survivors with thoughtful reflections on healing and forgiveness. Included discussion questions make As We Forgive a good choice for small group use.
Gacaca's end and its legacy
The Rwandan government announced today that it will stop taking new gacaca cases as of July 31st and that it intends to wind down gacaca operations within five months. Gacaca is a traditional local justice procedure (gacaca roughly means “justice on the grass” in Kinyarwanda) that the government modified to process the staggering number of low-level genocide cases and help reconcile perpetrators with their communities. Starting in 2002, the Rwandans began operating a system of more than 10,000 gacaca courts. Regardless of what one may think about its merits, the gacaca experience has represented a Herculean task with hundreds of thousands of cases processed in the past few years. In the words of Lars Waldorf, it was mass justice for mass atrocity. But was it successful? I was asked today on the BBC World Service (interview starts at the 18:53 mark) about gacaca’s legacy and I noted that it was mixed.