Columnists

Lest we forget

Transitional Justice recognises that dealing with the past is a core part of building peace. Truth telling, memorialisation and political settlements dealing with distributive injustices sit beside war crimes tribunals, the International Criminal Court and the state legal apparatus.


Afghan media face an uncertain future

The presidential election has shown Afghanistan’s increasingly mature media scene at its best – hopefully not for the last time.

Counting the cost of conflict

Casualty recording has redefined efforts to protect civilians in conflict, and provide aid and accountability to victims of violence. But with an absence of political will to respond to conflict, what good are the numbers? 

Community policing or counter-terrorism: What was Britain doing in Sri Lanka?

Why were the British delivering a 'community policing' program during and after Sri Lanka's 2009 civil war? And why are 'national security and counter-terrorism' the reasons for refusing disclosure about it?

Still searching for justice: victims in Sri Lanka

Five years on from the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka, the international community’s patience with the government in investigating gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law is exhausted.

Truth is the legacy we want

An op-ed from six youth activists in countries where official truth seeking initiatives are underway or being demanded reveals commonalities in the search for dignity, truth and acknowledgment of crimes. 

Fish rot from the head

Torture is routine practice in South Africa's police stations and prisons. A lineage of impunity, traced from apartheid, has meant de facto immunity for perpetrators. With South Africa celebrating its 'Human Rights Day' this weekend, the shocking reality behind its prison walls must be a central focus.

Extending a hand or raising a fist to the state?

From mobile phones to crowdsourced election monitoring, an in-depth look at how communication technologies are transforming citizen engagement and societal accountability in Southeast Asia.

"There is Marikana everyday in South Africa" - an interview with Abahlali baseMjondolo

Film: Struggling for the right to decent housing and against the criminalisation of poverty, South African shack dwellers movement Abahlali baseMjondolo face severe police repression. Here S'bu Zikode outlines the lethal consequences of police militarisation and the ANC's political capture of the police.

Un espejo doloroso

10 años después de que la Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación del Perú publicara su informe final sobre las dos décadas de conflicto armado, ¿cuál es el impacto del trabajo de la comisión en la sociedad? English.

Peru's painful mirror

10 years after Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report following two decades of armed conflict, what is the impact on Peruvian society? Español

Hijacked justice? Truth and reconciliation in Sri Lanka

After decades of civil war, Sri Lanka is looking to South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission to provide a model for post-conflict justice. But will this work in Sri Lanka, or will it lead to impunity for war criminals?

Sri Lanka’s twin challenges

The Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Colombo was the occasion for renewed demands that the state account for the brutal ending of its war with the Tamil Tigers in 2009. But Sri Lanka's appalling human-rights record does not only apply to its violent past: today too civil-society organisations are under heavy authoritarian pressure.

War crimes and international borders

After war, justice may come late or not at all: the decision to try defendants without them being present suggests the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal is not confident of gaining an extradition order. 

Professor Ghulam Azam: a flawed conviction and miscarriage of justice

On the basis of a flawed trial bereft of substantial evidence, my father has now been sentenced to 90 years in prison. The Bangladeshi people must decide whether justice for crimes past is really being acheived for a better, more cohesive Bangladesh.

A mixed record: Peru struggles to face its past

A new report from the International Center for Transitional Justice highlights delays in implementing a national reparations program for victims of Peru's 20-year internal armed conflict. But even with compensation, can Peruvian society achieve the reconciliation and inclusion it strives for? 

A lethal 'non-lethal' weapon

With tear gas a prominent weapon used to repress the recent uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, the multi-billion global market has been expanding. Reported incidents of tear gas-related deaths and injuries have prompted critique of its classification as 'non-lethal' and renewed calls for a ban on its use.

Is Bangladesh spiralling out of control?

The massacre of Hefazat protesters in Dhaka by Bangladeshi security forces, followed by the government’s initial denial and subsequent justification of casualties, raises serious questions about the future security and stability of Bangladesh.

Sri Lanka remembers to forget

Celebrations to mark the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war perform the function of collective forgetting. If the country looked back at recommendations made in the past, Sri Lankans might understand better how to go forward.

Four years on, genocide continues off the battlefield

On the anniversary of the 26-year civil war, the Sri Lankan state celebrates its 2009 victory while Tamils mark the bloody nadir of the campaign to systematically dismantle the Tamil nation - one which continues today.

Mali's reconciliation attempt

With a UN peacekeeping force soon to be deployed to Mali, what are the prospects for the recently created Dialogue and Reconciliation Commission?

Religion and after: Bangladeshi identity since 1971

Secularism was one of the cornerstones of Bengali nationalism, but its spirit was enforced only by pen and paper. How can demands to ban religion from politics be satisfied?

Bangladesh justice: damned if you do, damned if you don't

"One must ask what is the point in a trial where the only acceptable result is execution": have politics irreversibly stolen fair and impartial justice from the victims of the 1971 War of Liberation?

Requiem for a court

What is more important: to dispense justice or to achieve some kind of peace? The court in The Hague wrote the history of the Yugoslav dissolution by politically motivated parcelling of responsibility among former belligerents. This new historical narrative will have far reaching negative consequences.

Kenya, between hope and fear

The violent aftermath of Kenya's previous election is present in everyone's minds as Kenyans elect a successor to Mwai Kibaki. But the past five years have brought many other issues to the fore, says Daniel Branch.

Free speech and Bangladesh's growing climate of fear

The latest conviction and death sentence handed down by the ICT has already sparked further protests. As the state-sponsored clampdown on the press quickly grows to encompass anyone willing to speak out, what does this mean for demands for accountability?

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