by David Tolbert*
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (c) AP
President Obama’s historic visit to Kenya came at an important crossroads for the country. While much of the attention of the press was directed at Obama’s Kenyan roots, for many, Obama’s emphasis on justice for all Kenyans is what will be remembered. This is particularly true given that Obama’s visit came four months after President Kenyatta’s official apology to, and announcement of reparations for, the many victims of the 2008 post-election violence, as recommended by Kenya’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC).
The issue of justice, as well as endemic corruption and the stalled reform process in Kenya, will remain long after the cheers for the U.S. President have faded. President Kenyatta has, however, an opportunity in the wake of Obama’s historic visit to go beyond rhetoric and both deliver on his apology and the issues Obama has raised. Kenyatta and the Kenyan authorities should not miss this opportunity.
Kenyatta’s promising announcements require concrete steps and actions without further delay. His four-month old decision to establish a fund to provide relief to victims was followed and confirmed by the inclusion of the first tranche of resources-one billion shillings (almost $10 million U.S. dollars) in the new annual budget. Now is the time to design a comprehensive and gender-sensitive reparations program that starts with the most vulnerable victims. Opening space for the participation of victims and listening to their needs and demands must be the first step. Concurrently, an efficient and transparent administrative system and infrastructure for the program must be created. Continue reading
Demonstrating groundbreaking analysis, this is the first major study to evaluate the transitional justice programme in Sierra Leone. Rather than focusing on a single mechanism, the authors examine how the Special Court, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), local justice initiatives and reparations programme interacted.
Contributors to the book include the Prosecutor of the Special Court and one of the Commissioners from the TRC, alongside a range of experts on transitional justice, on international law and on Sierra Leone.
The authors consider the political and normative drivers of transitional justice and the lessons that the Sierra Leone programme stands to offer other post-conflict situations.
This edited volume makes a significant contribution to the field by demonstrating how contextual knowledge should be used alongside normative standards when evaluating transitional justice.
iLawyer Wayne Jordash QC wrote the chapter called “Comparing Fairness and Due Process in the RUF and CDF cases: Consequences for the Legacy of the Special Court for Sierra Leone”
If you wish to order the book, click here.
Date: 19 June 2014, 12:30
Venue: The Graduate Institute, Auditorium Ivan Pictet, Maison de la Paix, Geneva, Switzerland.
Truth commissions created after armed conflicts have tended towards uniformity in their mandates
even though awareness of the complex challenges facing such commissions has become increasingly evident. Despite increased awareness of these issues, several truth-seeking processes have gone through near-paralyzing crises.
In the light of experience and practice, this conference re-examines assumptions about how truth commissions are established and what makes them operate effectively.
> Päivi Kairamo, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations, Geneva
> Ruth McCoy, Executive Director, Kofi Annan Foundation
> David Tolbert, President, International Center for Transitional Justice
> Frank Halderman, Professor of Law, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
If you wish to register, click here.
Date: 7-11 July 2014
Location: Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights,
Villa Moynier – Rue de Lausanne 120B – CP 67 – 1211 Geneva 21 – Switzerland
The Antonio Cassese Initiative for Justice, Peace and Humanity and the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights open their application process for the Summer School 2014.
The 2014 Antonio Cassese Summer School offers an intensive course on transitional justice principles and processes, with a special focus on post-conflict situations.
Based on both scholarly and practitioner expertise across a range of areas (including human rights, international criminal law, security reform, legal philosophy, gender politics) and country situations, the programme combines a general course on
transitional justice with complementary topic-specific lectures. The general course will be delivered by leading transitional justice scholar Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Professor of law at the University of California.
For further information about the Summer School please click here.