Sometimes justice comes down to making people feel they have been heard: Best of #MyJustice series 2017

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Saturday, December 30, 2017 - 01:02

By Justice Hub

Like describing an elephant, “justice” is a hard word to define to everyone’s’ satisfaction. You just know it when you see it. In 2017, just as we’ve done in previous years, Justice Hub has chased and published stories of people working in different fields to make the world a more just and peaceful place. We’ve published personal stories about lawyers, judges, journalists, activists and victims, each using their own words to explain how their perspectives on justice have been shaped by their unique experiences.

With the year coming to an end, we’ve prepared a list of the most interesting, moving and thought-provoking #MyJustice stories from 2017.  

Ruth Murambadoro - Zimbabwe

Ruth Murambadoro - Zimbabwe

Researcher Ruth Murambadoro firmly believes that justice is best applied when it has a local flavour. Having conducted extensive research in her native Zimbabwe, Ruth is skeptical that international justice is better than traditional African justice mechanisms at addressing the grievances of victims and affected communities.

“That's what I've been experiencing in my research, that justice is not a one-size-fits-all, it has to be tailor-made. We have to make sure that we attend to what people need,” said Ruth.

For the full story, click here

Bassam al-Ahmad – Syria

Bassam al-Ahmad – Syria

The numbers of people affected directly by the conflict in Syria is overwhelming: according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), more than 465,000 people are either dead or missing as a result of the 6-year conflict. But how many of those individuals - from all sides - have their stories recorded? Rights activist Bassam al-Ahmad is trying to ensure that happens, even though he was at one time in serious danger of becoming part of the deadly statistics himself, when his work chronicling the ravages of the civil war earned him a stint in one of Syria’s notorious prisons.

Bassam’s piece gave us perhaps one of the most memorable lines in this year’s #MyJustice series.

“Sometimes justice just comes down to listening to people and making them feel they have been heard,” he said.

For the full story, click here

Nika Jeiranashvili - Georgia

Nika Jeiranashvili - Georgia

The ICC Prosecutor’s investigation into the Russo-Georgian War of 2008 took a long time coming, but represents a welcome change of focus for The Hague-base court. 

Nika Jeiranashvili of the Open Society Georgia Foundation explained to us why the ICC’s investigation into Georgian situation is special and what he thinks victims’ expectations of justice are.

“For me, justice would be if on the one hand you would go through ICC process and look for perpetrators and on the other hand if you would help those who have suffered the most, see what they need and then help with that,” said Jeiranashvili .

For the full story, click here

 

Chaim Litewski – on the 1994 Rwandan genocide

Chaim Litewski spoke about witnessing the horrors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide:

“Nothing prepared me to deal with what I saw. I had war coverage experience but this was a pretty incredible thing. There was no fear, no shame. The Rwandan genocide really impressed me for its transparency. People were being killed openly on the street. You are talking about children, women, men and the elderly. There was no shame”

For the full story, click here

Clément Abaifouta – Chad

Clément Abaifouta – Chad

Clément Abaifouta is the quintessential survivor. In July 1985, he was arrested by Hissène Habré’s dreaded Documentation and Security Directorate (DDS) just as he was about to leave Chad for further studies in Germany. He would spend the next four years enduring harsh conditions in detention on top of which he was forced to bury fellow detainees in mass graves just outside N’Djamena. In all, Abaifouta believes he buried up to 500 fellow detainees.

“ I was forced by the soldiers to bury up to ten bodies every day. My colleagues would die without medicine, food, just the suffering killed them. That was my experience every day,” says Abaifouta.

For the full story, click here

Professor Hope Elizabeth May – USA

Professor Hope Elizabeth May – USA

The director and founder of the Bertha von Suttner Project, Professor Hope Elizabeth May of the Central Michigan University is leading a push to popularise Bertha von Suttner’s ideas. Suttner, widely credited for inspiring Alfred Nobel to include a prize for champions of peace among the prizes provided for in his will, hasn’t received the credit she deserves for her scholarly work and other achievements she chalked up at a time when women were to be seen and not heard.

For the full story, click here

Steve Killelea - Australia

Steve Killelea - Australia

What makes one nation more peaceful or stable than the next? Steve Killelea, the founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Economics and Peace believes that he has cracked the code that explains why some nations are more prone to instability than others.

For the full story, click here

Honourable mentions 

There are some stories published on Justice Hub in 2017 that don’t fit neatly into the #MyJustice rubric but are nevertheless deserving of a mention because they offer a window into how the wheels of international justice grind in different courts and tribunals around the world:

Franck Petit, an accomplished communication expert, was the team leader of the Outreach Consortium that was charged with helping relay the trial of Hissène Habré by the Extraordinary African Chambers to a (mostly untrusting) audience in Chad.

In this interview, Petit explains how he and his team helped win sceptical Chadians over and the many lessons he learnt in the process. Read the story, here

The ACtHPR Monitor founder Oliver Windridge unpacks two judgements made by African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court) because they continue to provide further clarification on what is meant by the right to a fair trial as found under Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter). For the full story, click here.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has heard its last case. In 2017 we published an extensive interview with former ICTY spokesperson Refik Hodžić in which he gave an honest appraisal of the tribunal’s legacy. Read it here.

Did you enjoy sampling the highlights from our #MyJustice series 2017? Then check out all the other pieces we have published in this series here: 

Here's to a more just and peaceful 2018!

 

 

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