Call for Papers: Human Rights, Transitional Justice and Peace Building

University of UlsterKristian Lanslett is a lecturer in criminology in University of Ulster.

The Transitional Justice Institute (University of Ulster), the Centre for Post-Conflict Justice (Trinity College Dublin), and the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (University of Ulster) invite proposals for a one- day postgraduate student research seminar to be held on Friday 7 November 2014.

This year’s event, on human rights, transitional justice and peace building, will encourage interdisciplinary exchange and networking around challenging questions which arise for societies emerging from conflict or dealing with the legacy of human rights abuses. Papers are invited from current PhD students, from any discipline, whose work relates strongly to the theme.

Researchers wishing to be considered should submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, with their name, institution, discipline, year of study, and a 200 word biography by 31 August 2014, to Gwawr McGirr, email  mcgirr-g1@email.ulster.ac.uk . Places are necessarily limited, so unfortunately not every paper may be able to be accepted. We anticipate that final acceptances will be notified by the end of September. Non- presenting participants will then be welcome to register to attend, subject only to limitations of space.

About the research day: This conference is being run by and for postgraduate students from universities across Ireland, in conjunction with the Transitional Justice Institute (University of Ulster), the Centre for Post-Conflict Justice (Trinity College Dublin), and the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (University of Ulster).

Accepted papers will be organised into thematic panels, with short (max. 12 minute) summary paper presentations followed by expert feedback from an established academic in the field, then general Q&A. While there is no registration fee, and lunch will be provided on the day, we regret that we are unable to cover travel and accommodation costs.

This event takes place during the Belfast version of the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences, 1-8 November, and so there will also be other events of interest happening across the city

About TJI: The Transitional Justice Institute, attached to the University of Ulster School of Law, studies the role of law and legal institutions in moves from conflict to peace. See www.transitionaljustice.ulster.ac.uk.

About CPCJ: The Centre for Post-Conflict Justice at Trinity College Dublin explores how societies come to terms with episodes of extreme violence in war, civil war and prolonged civil and political unrest. See www.tcd.ie/cpcj.

About IRiSS: The Institute for Research in Social Sciences at the University of Ulster works on a broad range of social and public policy matters. See  http://www.socsci.ulster.ac.uk/irss/index.html.

Call for Papers: Human Rights, Transitional Justice and Peace Building

Katyń and the ECHR: the Convention as a transitional justice tool?

We are pleased to welcome this guest post from Jacek Kowalewski, Trainee-attorney in Warsaw,  and executive officer of the Central and Eastern European Initiative for International Criminal Law and Human Rights. This essay does not necessarily reflect the position of the Initiative.

The ECHR judgment in the case Janowiec et al. v. Russia addressed the legacy of the so-calledKatyń’ crime: mass executions committed on Polish prisoners by the NKVD (Soviet secret police) in 1940. The case required the Court to interpret the duty of effective investigation in light of the underlying values of the Convention. Yet, the majority of the Court’s panel did not fully appreciate the historic context within which the Convention had been drafted, and, for reasons of temporal jurisdiction, declared the complaint partly inadmissible. A review by the Grand Chamber is on the way.

Continue reading “Katyń and the ECHR: the Convention as a transitional justice tool?”

Katyń and the ECHR: the Convention as a transitional justice tool?

A Crusader in Court: Baltazar Garzon on Trial in Madrid

Balthazar Garzon, the Spanish judge who served on Spain’s central criminal court and the  Juzgado Central de Instrucción No. 5, which investigates the most important criminal cases in Spain, including terrorism, organised crime and money laundering, yesterday went on trial over accusations that he had abused his powers to investigate atrocities committed during the Spanish Civil War. (For a brief bio of Garzon, see here, for coverage of the case see here, here and here). Garzon will be familiar to many for his role in ordering the extradition of Chile’s former dictator Augusto Pinochet from Britain to face charges of human rights abuses. He has also pursued members of the former dictatorship in Argentina, indicted Osama bin Laden and probed abuses at the US prison for terrorism suspects at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. Domestically, he spearheaded Spain’s fight against political corruption and against terrorism by ETA. Continue reading “A Crusader in Court: Baltazar Garzon on Trial in Madrid”

A Crusader in Court: Baltazar Garzon on Trial in Madrid

Thoughts on a New Ireland: Oral History and the Magdalene Laundries.

As part of the blognival ‘Thoughts on a New Ireland’, HRinI is pleased to publish this post by Katherine O’Donnell, Director of Women’s Studies, (UCD School of Social Justice) and member of the Advisory Committee of Justice for Magdalenes.

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) www.magdalenelaundries.com has been focused on providing evidence of the Irish State’s collusion in the punitive, recarceal, for-profit-enterprises known as the Magdalene Laundries which were operated at ten locations by four Catholic religious orders – the last one closed in 1996. JFM has been circulating a draft ‘restorative justice and redress scheme’ for the women and girls who were incarcerated in the Magdalene Laundry system.

We propose that, following an apology by the State, a dedicated unit within the Department of Justice is established with the remit of facilitating surviving women and their families to access all state social services to which they are entitled and to operating as an ‘inter-departmental’ hub in further facilitating other State services and expertise. We are currently working on the detail of a compensation scheme, for lost wages, pension contributions and personal damage, the funding of which is envisaged will be provided by the Religious Congregations. In coming to terms with the complexities we have become avid students of  the wide variety of truth commissions and redress schemes which everywhere have to navigate the  gap between best Human Rights practice such as that enshrined in the 2005 UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law etc. and  individuals’ rights to privacy, family life and a good name.

Continue reading “Thoughts on a New Ireland: Oral History and the Magdalene Laundries.”

Thoughts on a New Ireland: Oral History and the Magdalene Laundries.

Demjanjuk Nazi Trial Begins Today

The trial of Ohio-resident John Demjanjuk on charges of being an accessory as a Nazi guard in the murder of 27,900 people in the Nazi death camp Sobibor in 1943 started today. If convicted, he could face a prison sentence of up to 15 yearsthat he is extremely unlikely to fulfill. (Read here, here, here). In the early 1980s, Demjanjuk was accused of being the notorious guard “Ivan the Terrible” at the Treblinka death camp. He was deported to Israel in 1986 and sentenced to death in 1988, but the Israeli Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1993 after finding reasonable doubt that he was the guard in question. In 2002, the U.S. Justice Department charged Demjanjuk with being a guard at Sobibor and revoked his citizenship for lying about his Nazi past in order to gain citizenship. He was extradited to Germany in May after new evidence allowed the current charges to be brought. He cannot be tried under US law. Continue reading “Demjanjuk Nazi Trial Begins Today”

Demjanjuk Nazi Trial Begins Today

Karadžić trial update: UK lawyer appointed as standby counsel

The ICTY said yesterday that Radovan Karadžić cannot appeal against the court’s decision to appoint to him legal counsel (Full decision here) after he boycotted proceedings. Judges ordered earlier this month that legal counsel be appointed to Karadžić and adjourned his trial until March 2010 to give new defence lawyers time to prepare. On November 20, the  ICTY named Richard Harvey QC, a lawyer with experience in The Hague representing war crimes suspects from Kosovo and the Bloody Sunday Inquiry to represent Radovan Karadžić if the former Bosnian Serb leader continues to boycott his trial when it resumes in next year. The ruling on November 5 to appoint counsel allows for Karadžić to continue representing himself, but he will have to work with an appointed lawyer. If he continues to boycott the trial, then Karadžić will forfeit his right to self-representation and the appointed lawyer will take over. The Registrar’s Office has stated that representatives of the Registrar’s Office met with Karadžic “…in order for him ‘to express his preference concerning the list of attorneys made by the Registrar. Although the indictee asked the Registrar to let him have an opportunity to meet the attorneys whose names are included in the list, in order for him to be able to say which of them he prefers, (…) after he had met them, the indictee did not say what his preference would be.’” Karadžić’s trial was adjourned just days after it began last month when the defendant refused to show up in court, saying he needed ten additional months to prepare his defence.

Continue reading “Karadžić trial update: UK lawyer appointed as standby counsel”

Karadžić trial update: UK lawyer appointed as standby counsel

Iraq Inquiry Begins but Questions Remain

In the UK, the Iraq Inquiry (also referred to as the Chilcot Inquiry) into the 2003-present Iraq war began hearing evidence yesterday. On the first day of proceedings (24 November), Sir Peter Ricketts, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee in 2001 told the inquiry that containment policy in 2001, which included sanctions, was “failing”. He also said that they were aware in around February 2001 that White House officials were discussing “regime change” in Iraq, but that it was not UK policy until after September 11, 2001. Sir William Patey, the former head of the Foreign Office’s Middle East Department was asked if containment policy “could have continued like that until such time as [Hussein] departed?” to which Patey replied “Possibly”.

The Inquiry was announced on 15 June 2009 by the Prime Minister. It is an inquiry by a committee of Privy Counsellors with broad terms of reference to consider the UK’s involvement in Iraq from mid-2001 to July 2009. It will cover the run-up to the conflict, the subsequent military action and its aftermath with the purpose to establish the way decisions were made, to determine what happened and to identify lessons to ensure that in a similar situation in future, the UK government is equipped to respond in the most effective manner in the best interests of the country. 

  Continue reading “Iraq Inquiry Begins but Questions Remain”

Iraq Inquiry Begins but Questions Remain

Karadzic genocide trial resumes in his absence

The familiar adage that justice delayed is justice denied will get a few more outings after the trial of Radovan Karadzic (case IT-95-5/18 ) predictably hit the buffers once more. Mr Karadzic is standing trial as the highest political and military authority in the ethnic splinter state of Republika Srpska in Bosnia Herzegovina during some of the Bosnian War. Prosecutors accuse him of either ordering, encouraging or failing to prevent crimes, including the July 1995 massacre at Srebrenica, when Bosnian Serb forces murdered about 8,000 unarmed Bosnian Muslim males, and the three-year shelling of Sarajevo, which killed more than 10,000. The trial started yesterday and was due to start with the opening prosecution statement, spread out over two days. Karadzic, was also to be given two days to make an opening statement. Yesterday, presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon adjourned proceedings after less than half an hour after Mr Karadzic’s refused to appear. Karadzic Continue reading “Karadzic genocide trial resumes in his absence”

Karadzic genocide trial resumes in his absence

High Court Rules Dublin Archdiocese Abuse Report be Partially Published

fourcourtsThe flow of information and inquiry on institutional abuses in the church continues to change from a trickle to a torrent after Mr Justice Paul Gilligan in the High Court ruled that most of the report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation into the handling by the Catholic Church authorities of child sex abuse allegations against priests in the diocese may be published. The report was compiled followed an investigation by the Commission into how clerical child sex abuse allegations involving a sample of 46 priests were handled by Catholic Church authorities in Dublin between January 1st, 1975, and April 30th, 2004. Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern referred the report on the Attorney General’s advice it to the High Court to seek direction because some of the individuals concerned are facing or may face criminal proceedings (Under section 38 of the Commission of Investigation Act 2004, the Minister for Justice must seek directions from the High Court if it is felt publication of a commission report might prejudice criminal proceedings, pending or in progress). Mr Justice Gilligan ruled that chapter 19 of the report or any references to the subject matter of Chapter 19 can not be published until the court directs. Significantly, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said his “personal preference would be for the report to come out quickly and in its integrity because, reading it in its integrity, the question emerges better”. The difference between Archbishop Martin and his predecessor Cardinal Desmond Connell on these issues could not be greater. While prevarication, obfuscation and denial were the default positions of the latter, Martin has followed in a trend visible in other similar powerful state or quasi-state centres of abuse like armies and secret police services in liberalising societies in realising the justice and psychosocial healing that can flow from such inquiries. It is regrettable that other dioceses have not been as pro-active on the issue. The victim’s group One in Four have urged full publication of the report in due course.

High Court Rules Dublin Archdiocese Abuse Report be Partially Published

Evidence Concluded in First Khmer Rouge Trial

The Khmer Rouge tribunal in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on Thursday concluded the hearing of evidence in the trial of Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, after 72 days of substantive hearings. He is best known for heading the Khmer Rouge special branch and running the infamous Tuol Sleng (S-21) prison camp in Phnom Penh. On July 31, 2007, Duch was formally charged with crimes against humanity and detained by the hybrid tribunal. He was prosecuted by international co prosecutors William Smith and Anees Ahmed and charged “of personally overseeing the systematic torture of more than 15,000 prisoners.” In his final testimony, Duch accepted responsibility for his role in overseeing the prison and asked for forgiveness from the families of the victims, gestures he has made several times during the trial. He also told the court that he was ready to accept heavy punishment for his actions. He has denied personally killing or torturing the S-21 prisoners, and said he felt compelled by fear for his own life to follow the orders of senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

Continue reading “Evidence Concluded in First Khmer Rouge Trial”

Evidence Concluded in First Khmer Rouge Trial