Friday, April 15, 2011

Fulfilling the Right to Reparations

Panelists speak about reparations program.
The discussion on Fulfilling the Right to Reparations: How and How Soon, chaired by Mokhtar Trifi, president of the Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LTDH), focused on the legal basis for reparations and its varied nature and application globally throughout history.

Wahid Ferchichi a law professor at the University of Tunis and a consultant for ICTJ opened the conversation with a thorough explanation of the legal basis for reparations.

He also explained the challenges Tunisia now faces, including a number of requests already being brought to the government and the lack of a plan to address them. He stressed that there have already been reparations awarded with no clear strategy, and that a participatory approach and well thought-out plan are necessary.

He suggested that Tunisia consider nonmaterial forms of reparations, like monuments. Tunisia has begun naming streets after people who died during the revolution. This is a good recognition, but Tunisians should also consider how to address the needs of entire towns that have suffered before and during the revolution.

Finally, he expressed that women, who were an integral part of the revolution should not be overlooked during the reparations process.

Ruben Carranza, director of ICTJ’s Reparative Justice Program then played a video about a woman seeking redress for the loss of her grandmother in order to illustrate reparations are not solely about compensation.

video

He stressed the point that reparations are a legal right that depends only on the fact of victimization—a perpetrator does not have to be identified.

He raised the question of collective reparations and development, explaining that it’s often difficult to differentiate between state obligations for reparations and livelihood.

Ruben echoed Ferchichi’s statement that reparations programs must be centered on victims needs. He told the story of a monument in Iraq, which was destroyed by the community it was meant to memorialize. While the government thought they were doing a service to victims, the community itself did not have basic services, like clean water, and were offended by the resources spent on the monument.

Last he spoke of the importance of asset recovery to provide reparations for victims.

Mustapha Iznasni of the committee of human rights in Morocco spoke next about the experience of the Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER), whose mandate was limited to victims of forced disappearance.

The IER considered the needs of both women and men. They organized public meetings to involve women in identifying violations and did work to help restore the dignity of men who suffered forced disappearance and torture.

The IER had a collective reparations aspect designed to restore victims’ confidence in state institutions and to raise awareness of past violations.

The final speaker was Joseph Schechla, a representative of OHCHR. He discussed the history of reparations, using examples from the Nuremburg and Tokyo trials after World War II, and hybrid courts, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

He identified the good practice in the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose founders built reparations into its founding statute in two forms: through the Trust Fund for Victims, and through criminal proceedings.

The discussion focused on clarifications about how and when to issue reparations. Participants expressed concern about the divergent needs of victims and how this can be addressed in one reparations program.

1 comment:

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