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Justice and Reconciliation

Audience devant les Chambres extraordinaires au sein des tribunaux cambodgiens (CETC), novembre 2012 © CETC

Issues

All societies that have experienced periods of oppression or civil war have been faced with the question of rebuilding national unity. In internal conflicts - and virtually all of them - more than 80 percent, sometimes 90 percent of the victims are civilians. The issue of reconciliation is therefore a major challenge, both in political terms and in terms of regional security. Transitional justice has formalized a range of judicial and extrajudicial tools, both old and new, national and international, to facilitate processes of national reconciliation: criminal courts for perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity, truth and reconciliation commissions, reparations programs for victims, adapted traditional mechanisms of reparation and conflict resolution. These different tools make sense only if the respective societies own and apply them. The media has a crucial role to play in ensuring independent and credible information and contributing to an active civil society.

Discussion sur la justice transitionnelle au Graduate Institute à Genève en juin 2016 avec la Procureure générale de la Cour pénale internationale, Fatou Bensouda, le Haut commissaire des Nations Unies aux droits de l’Homme, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, et le conseiller éditorial de Justice Info, Pierre Hazan. © Fondation Hirondelle / Léandre Duggan

Our approach

It was in response to hate media in Rwanda, and especially the infamous Radio Télévision des Mille Collines (RTMC) which promoted genocide, that Fondation Hirondelle was born. The central idea was simple and its message remains: if the media of hatred can be instruments of mass crime, other media, responsible, professional, and rigorous journalism can contribute to independence of spirit and a process of reconciliation, thus uniting the right to information and the right to justice. For example, Fondation Hirondelle created the Hirondelle News Agency in 1997 in Arusha, Tanzania, to cover the trials of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Through a rigorous approach, we have produced and broadcasted specific programs on international justice to reach the broadest public in the Great Lakes region of Africa and beyond.

In 2015, we launched JusticeInfo.net with the support of our academic partners, Oxford Transitional Justice Research and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Our ambition is to independently cover reconciliation processes in societies trying to separate themselves from conflicts with particular emphasis on countries at the heart of current international or transitional justice such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Central African Republic, Tunisia and Myanmar. JusticeInfo.net produces regular articles in English and French, and also in Arabic. On such issues, which are sensitive emotionally, politically and ethically, we set ourselves a duty to be independent, credible and serious.

JusticeInfo.net is directed at all those interested in justice and reconciliation, especially to societies in transition, as well as journalists, students, members of civil society, humanitarians, mediators, and jurists. To learn more about JusticeInfo, click here. We also cover justice and reconciliation issues at local level in the programmes and media that we manage. In the Central African Republic, for example, Radio Ndeke Luka produces and broadcasts a weekly program on reconciliation called “Elé songo” (Let’s reconcile with each other).

 

Results

  • The concerned populations have access to reliable information on the processes of justice, truth and reparation programs.
  • Political and civil society leaders can follow different processes of transitional justice in different countries to learn from their situation and stimulate their own thinking and approach.
  • A culture of dialogue is strengthened between political actors, institutions, and civil society to foster inclusive and peaceful reconciliation processes.

 

Examples & testimonies

  • Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, Haut-commissaire des Nations Unies aux droits de l’Homme © ONU

    In the Democratic Republic of the Congo

    In July 2016, JusticeInfo.net published an article exposing the pressures of several African countries (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Chad) to stop publication of a secret list of suspected perpetrators established in 2010 by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of war crimes committed between 1993 and 2003 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This article has been widely relayed by the social networks in the DRC
    See the link
  • Les manifestants du mouvement de jeunes Manich Msamah

    In Tunisia

    The process of reconciliation in Tunisia, last sentinel of the Arab Spring, is one of the editorial priorities of JusticeInfo.net. Our correspondent Olfa Belhassine follows the many aspects of transitional justice in this country, which remains an example despite the obstacles posed by authorities and part of the media. These aspects include the work of remembrance, the Truth and Dignity Commission, the fight against corruption and economic crimes, and the fight against torture, which is still present. Here is an example in this article on the actions of a group of young people against “amnesty for the corrupt”
    See the link
  • Les manifestants du mouvement de jeunes Manich Msamah

    In the Central African Republic

    In the Central African Republic, Radio Ndeke Luka covers justice developments and the reconciliation process on a daily basis through reports, interviews and the weekly programme “Elé songo” (Let’s Reconcile). A section of the Radio Ndeke Luka website is dedicated to justice in the Central African Republic
    See the link