Example: Timor-Leste - After years of conflict in Timor-Leste, elements of customary justice were incorporated into transitional justice processes, in order to localize justice and accountability at the community level. In addition to the Serious Crimes Process, the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (Comissão de Acolhimento, Verdade e Reconciliação – CAVR) was created to hear testimonies and document a range of conflict-related crimes. Serious crimes were referred to the courts for prosecution while offences considered less serious, such as looting and burning of property were dealt with through community-level reintegration and reconciliation processes implemented by the Commission. Among the CAVR’s activities was a community reconciliation programme based on the customary practice of nahe biti boot (spread out the big mat). It involved the public confession and apology of perpetrators who came forward. A local panel moderated the process and facilitated the negotiation of an act of reconciliation acceptable to the victim, such as community service, reparation, or other forms of compensation. After the session was concluded, a community reconciliation agreement was registered with the appropriate district court and once it had been fulfilled, the accused were granted immunity from criminal and civil liability.
Women’s representation was mandatory on the arbitration panels to ensure that they had a role in shaping them. The women who participated stated that it took time to build trust among the male elders and to convince them that women could be involved in conflict resolution. Gradually however, acceptance of their participation grew and the women became respected in these new roles
Source: excerpted from UNWOMEN, 2011, pg. 94.
The Prosecution of Gender-based Sexualized Violence in War: A Resource Manual (Medica Mondiale. 2009). This is the third revised and suplemented edition of medica mondiale’s Resource Manual on the prosecution of sexualized violence in armed conflict. The Manual intends to lay the foundation for a continuously growing documentation of international norms on and legal responses to sexualized war violence. The manual intends to be a general source of information for women activists not specifically trained in law and can be used as a tool for training purposes. Available in English.
Human Rights, Transitional Justice, Public Health and Social Reconstruction (Pham P.N., Vinck, P. and Weinstein, H.M,/Soc Sci Med. 70(1): 98-105, 2010). Available in English.
Under-enforcement and Intersectionality: Gendered Aspects of Transition for Women International Journal of Transitional Justice (Fionnuala Ni Aolain and Eilish Rooney/ Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Vol. 1, No. 3, 2007). Available in English.
Transitional Justice and ESDP (Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, Council of the European Union, Brussels, 10674/06, DG E1, 19th June 2006). Available in English.
1. Truth and Reconciliation Commissions
Example: Gender Sensitive TRCs in Peru, Timor-Leste and Sierra Leone. The truth commissions in Peru, Timor-Leste and Sierra Leone have drawn special attention to gender issues, employed more women staff members and involved local women’s organizations to a much greater extent than before. The 2001 Peruvian Truth Commission (Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación – CVR) was the first in which sexual violence was fully acknowledged, with a commitment made to mainstream gender into the proceedings, overseen by a special unit. In Sierra Leone, UN Women supported the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to ensure that there was a comprehensive gender strategy. Women’s organizations were funded to facilitate outreach to local communities and provide transport, medical assistance and childcare for women witnesses. A data system was set up to collect sex disaggregated statistics. The Timor-Leste CAVR had a dedicated gender unit, which worked closely with women’s organizations. Community-based hearings allowed women to talk about their experiences in the conflict, including in their roles supporting the resistance movement. At the national hearings for women, for the first time in the history of Timor-Leste, women spoke out publicly, with people across the country following the hearings on television and radio. Similarly, in Sierra Leone, some women wanted to narrate their experiences in public, rejecting the notion that they should bear the stigma alone or keep their experiences private. However, for many others, particularly survivors of sexual violence, closed session hearings are vital to guarantee the confidentiality and safety necessary to enable women to come forward.
Source: excerpted from UNWOMEN, 2011 pg. 95).
Witness to Truth: Report of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Human Rights Watch and Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Volume 3b. Freetown: Government of Sierra Leone, 2005). Available in English.
Gender and Truth Commission Mandates (Vasuki, N. No date). Available in English.
Rule-of-Law Tools for Post-Conflict States, Truth Commissions (UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 2006). Available in English.
2. Reparations Programmes
Reparations can include:
Source: Excerpted from Amnesty International. n.d. “Full Reparation.”
Example: Reparations in Sierra Leone. Beginning in August 2008, the government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations implemented a one-year project aimed at building the institutional capacity of the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) to implement the TRC recommendations related to reparations, such as: building/improving infrastructure for reparations, administering urgent interim reparations, and registering victims. This project received $3 million USD from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund. As of 2010, a total of 29,733 victims had been registered, including victims of sexual violence who were among the 5 categories of victims prioritized for urgent interim assistance. Sexual violence victims received nominal compensation (one-off payment) and 235 received fistula surgery. The UN Trust Fund to end Violence against Women and Government of Germany subsequently expanded the reparations programme for sexual violence victims by providing, for example, microcredit, human rights training, and psychosocial counseling. Funds are being solicitated for the expansion of benefits which would include (free of charge) physical health care, fistula surgery for those in need, HIV/AIDS and STI testing and treatment for victims of sexual violence. Subject to availability of funds, housing could also be provided for the most vulnerable victims
Source: excerpted from US Institute of Peace, Truth Commission: Sierra Leone.
United Nations Secretary-General's 21-Page Guidance Note on Reparations for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (2014). Available in English.
Reparations, Development and Gender (UN Women and UNDP, 2012). Available in English.
Sierra Leone: Getting Reparations Right for Survivors of Sexual Violence (Amnesty International, 2007). Available in English.
Conflict-related sexual violence: report of the Secretary-General (United Nations Secretary-General A/66/657–S/2012/33). Available in English.
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