In light of human rights violations in Northern Uganda, this research note presents preliminary data on Ugandans’ attitudes on peace and justice. The findings reflect the respondents’ desires for truth reconciliation as well as their desires to hold perpetuators of violence accountable for their actions. However, the findings show that justice is not a top priority for Ugandans in comparison to more tangible needs for health, peace, money, and education. A majority of Ugandans in the North are open to the reintegration of former LRA members in society, albeit conditionally on diminished social and political rights for past LRA leaders.
The opportunities for engaging the Afghan public in the process of constitution building and legal reform are quickly disappearing. Decades of war have left the legal system, and its legal culture, in ruins. The project of constitutional and legal reform will be central to the success of reconstruction efforts. For the first time, Afghan legal professionals, civil society leaders, and other groups have the chance to engage in the rebuilding of their country’s legal foundations: both to stabilize a still-insecure country, and to transform their society in more long-lasting ways. However, as the Constitutional Loya Jirga approaches, many key questions regarding the nature of the new Afghan legal order remain, and many Afghans are beginning to feel that they have been left out of the process. The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) is in an ideal position to engage civil society groups and legal professionals in wider debate about the protection and integration of human rights standards in the new legal system. Its mandate includes the harmonization of international human rights standards with national law, and perhaps more importantly, the Commission enjoys access to a nation-wide constituency of individuals and groups who support the central government and the modernization of Afghan law. This roundtable report, which presents topics and analysis from a roundtable co-hosted by AIHRC and the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) at Harvard University and entitled Human Rights and Rule of Law: Constitutional and Legal Reform, attempts to capture the outcomes of one such effort at engagement and discussion. This Roundtable was one of the first such meetings in Kabul to engage a broad representation of civil society leaders, legal professionals, and Loya Jirga delegates from provinces outside Kabul. In total, there were about forty participants, with half of the group from Kabul and half from other cities and towns. The Roundtable was led by members of the AIHRC, with attendance and participation by members of the Judicial Reform Commission. A series of background papers in Dari was drafted by HPCR (in close consultation with members of the AIHRC) prior to the Roundtable, and made available to the participants along with a copy of President Hamid Karzai’s most recent decree on the Constitutional Loya Jirga and a paper on legal reform in Afghanistan.
For two weeks in April and May 2002, the Conflict Prevention Initiative (CPI) of the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) hosted the first ever international e-conference on “Securing Communities for Reconstruction in Afghanistan,” attracting over 90 participants. The majority of the participants were Afghan NGO and civil society leaders working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Others included representatives of various inter-governmental organizations, INGOs, academic institutions and donor governments. This report summarizes the principal themes of the discussion and concludes with a series of recommendations for various actors involved in the process of reconstruction in Afghanistan. These recommendations include both those specifically formulated by participants as well as those drawn more generally from the conference discussion. In addition, actual quotes from the participants are interspersed throughout the report in shaded boxes to suggest the richness and depth of the discussion. The e-conference was preceded by conversations with NGO leaders in Kabul, as well as roundtables with Afghan civil society leaders in Peshawar, Pakistan and Mashad and Zahedan, Iran. The roundtables were designed both to produce substantive inputs for the e-conference as well as to gather perspectives from those who may not have regular internet access. In this way, both the roundtables and the e-conference were designed to engage participants from their separate localities and yet still connect them with broader discussions and analysis.
Over the last decade, the United Nations (“U.N.”) has taken a central role in the international community’s response to the consequences of disasters and armed conflicts. Increasingly, international strategies to cope with instability and armed conflicts rely on the deployment of the staff of U.N. agencies in the midst of armed hostilities to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance to threatened populations. Furthermore, reconstruction and development activities traditionally undertaken in peaceful environments have also become an integral part of stabilization efforts in situations that are far from secure.
In attempt to move beyond a past marked by conflict, terror, and violence, Iraq has many hurdles to overcome in achieving social reconstruction and transitional justice. This study reflects the views of Iraqis regarding past human rights abuses, justice and accountability, truth-seeking and remembrance, amnesty, reparations, and reconciliation. Using this data, the study makes recommendations on how Iraq may address the needs and wants of its citizens for fairness, accountability, and justice, while simultaneously prioritizing a peaceful future.
After two decades of armed conflict waged by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Northern Uganda, Ugandans and the international community remain divided on how to effectively pursue and obtain peace and justice. This study presents Ugandans’ exposures to violence, the needs and concerns of displaced peoples, and opinions on specific transitional justice mechanisms as the country moves forward. Additionally, the study proposes that controversies over interventions in the region may be resolved by the local and international adoption of a comprehensive strategy that aims to achieve both peace and justice.
From 20th June through the 5th of July 2002, the Conflict Prevention Initiative of the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (CPI HPCR) in cooperation with the Center for Peace and Security Studies at the University of Gadjah Mada (CSPS) carried out a series of activities under the theme: “Building sustainable peace and fostering development in Papua”. This event was an effort to gather ideas and support from those representing Papua in the fields of peacebuilding and development. Using the Internet to discuss policies in the field of conflict prevention, this CPI-CSPS event also aimed at providing a platform for spreading information and strengthening networks between participants and decision makers at the national and international levels. The event started with a roundtable discussion at the University of Gadjah Mada on 20-22 June 2002, with 8 people from Papua representing the academic world, NGOs, religious organizations, customary institutions, women’s groups and youth. The main ideas that emerged during this discussion then became entry points for the e-conference, an online virtual discussion online in Indonesian. The e-conference took place between 24 June and 25 July 2002, with the participation of 89 people from various backgrounds. Simultaneously, an e-forum was carried out in English, with the participation of 32 people.
Under Article 43 of the Hague Regulations, an occupying power must restore and maintain public order and civil life, including public welfare, in an occupied territory. This is not a result it has to achieve, but an aim it has to pursue with all available proportionate means not prohibited by International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and compatible with International Human Rights law. It may suspend the derogable provisions of the latter — but is not obliged to do so - if necessary for that purpose. Local legislation and institutions based upon such legislation must be respected by an occupying power and by any local authorities acting under the global control of the occupying power. New legislation or derogations from existing legislation are however admissible, for the period of the occupation, if essential for (1) the security of the occupying power and of its forces, (2) the implementation of IHL and of International Human Rights Law (as far as the local legislation is contrary to such international law), (3) the purpose of restoring and maintaining public order and civil life in the territory, (4) the purpose of enhancing civil life during long-lasting occupations, (5) or where explicitly so authorized under UN Security Council Resolutions. These obligations and limitations also apply to post-conflict reconstruction efforts, including constitutional reforms, economic and social policies. Article 43 also applies to peace operations when they are at all subject to IHL, i.e., UN authorized or mandated operations resulting from an armed conflict or consisting of military occupations meeting no armed resistance, independently of whether the conflict or operation is authorized by the Security Council and of the aim of the operation. IHL is however not applicable if and as long as the operation meets the consent of the state on the territory on which it is deployed. The applicability of IHL to UN run operations, including UN international civil administrations, is more controversial, even when they result from an armed conflict. When Article 43 is not applicable to such a peace operation, the latter is nevertheless confronted with problems similar to those of an occupying power, which deserve solutions similar to those adopted in State practice under Article 43. Limits to such application of Article 43 by analogy are the purpose of the peace operation defined by the UN Security Council, specific instructions by the Security Council and the fact that UN Human Rights standards, even if laid down in soft law instruments, are binding upon UN operations. Both occupying powers and those involved in peace operations must take into account, when engaged in the restoration or maintenance of public order and civil life according to Article 43 or in legislation permitted under that article, that they are not the sovereign. They should therefore introduce only as many changes as absolutely necessary under Article 43 as understood above and stay as close as possible to similar local standards and the local cultural, legal and economic traditions.
Ravaged by 21 years of war and destruction, Northern Uganda faces serious obstacles in achieving reconciliation and accountability for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. While security in the region has improved since the migration of the Lord’s Resistance Army to the Congo, Ugandans continue to struggle with the aftereffects of an era of violence. This study relays Ugandans’ views on peace, mechanisms for justice, and reintegration, and consequently recommends that the Ugandan government and international community act in concert to develop a strategy for peace-building, justice, socioeconomic development, and poverty reduction in the North.
30 years after the end of the Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia, citizens of the country continue to see themselves as victims of the regime and desire some form of reparations. Nonetheless, citizens wish that the country prioritize problems that Cambodians face in their everyday lives rather than concentrate on punishing crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge. This study presents the views and experiences of Cambodians regarding exposure to violence, overall priorities, and the national criminal justice system. Additionally, the study reveals that citizens desire more knowledge of the regime, feel hatred toward the Khmer Rouge, and demand accountability. Furthermore, the study calls for changes in the structure and governance of the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) so that Cambodians’ faith in their criminal justice system may be restored.
After years of armed conflict, instability, and human rights violations, in 2006 the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held its first elections since independence. Despite this success, eastern DRC grapples with major challenges in achieving security, social reconstruction, and transitional justice. This study presents the needs and priorities of the Congolese population in light of prevailing social and political instability, and recommends that the Congolese government and international community take steps to monitor and implement peace negotiations, security, and good governance as the country moves forward.
Liberia has made progress in peacebuilding and reconstruction in the aftermath of a 14-year long civil war, but the country continues to face challenges in overcoming the results of a legacy of violence. This study, undertaken in November and December 2010, provides insight into Liberians’ current priorities for peacebuilding, their perceptions of post-conflict security, and existing dispute and dispute resolution mechanisms. The findings suggest that while Liberians are generally positive about the country’s prospects for peace and security, the fears and inequalities perpetuated by years of civil strife continue to reverberate throughout the country. This study provides recommendations to address the existing problems of gaping socioeconomic disparities, limited access to information, a weakened security sector, and the diminished quality of current dispute resolution systems. It also supports inter-ethnic national dialogue on truth, reconciliation, and the underlying causes of the war.
Public information and outreach have emerged as one of the fundamental activities of transitional justice mechanisms. Their objective is to raise public awareness, knowledge and participation among affected communities. Despite this increased focus, understanding of the role, impact and effectiveness of various outreach strategies remains limited, as is understanding of communities’ knowledge, perceptions and attitudes about transitional justice mechanisms, including their expectations. The study discussed in this article was designed to evaluate International Criminal Court (ICC) outreach programs in the Central African Republic.