Justice in wartime: how to prepare for peace?
RETURN TO THE EXPERTISE MEETING OF March 29, 2023
Providing justice in times of war and armed conflict, whether it be interstate aggression or civil war among populations in a territory, is a considerable challenge. How to maintain access to justice and the essential missions of the public service of justice in a territory that is under fire? How can we go into the field, in contact with the victim populations, often refugees in other States, to collect their testimonies and document the abuses committed? How do the different actors involved, judges, investigators, NGOs, lawyers, work to help fight against impunity and prosecute the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity? What reparation measures, collective or individual, should be taken for the victims?
The latest conflicts, whether in Ukraine, Colombia or the Central African Republic, show that, more and more, the delivery of justice requires the articulation of different levels of investigation: at the national level, at the regional level, and at the international level (International Criminal Court, special tribunals such as those set up in Rwanda, Kosovo, Cambodia, etc.).
Moreover, the courts decide in real time, and not after the end of a conflict, which raises the question of their impartiality and the effectiveness of the rights to be guaranteed to the persons prosecuted.
How can we ensure that the justice rendered by these courts is not perceived as being that of the victors? In countries that have experienced civil war, and for which the reintegration of convicts into the community is crucial to ensure the conditions for a return to peace, does transitional justice have a particular role to play?
This edition of the Rendez-Vous de l'expertise will bring together the views of judges, jurists, lawyers and NGOs. Confronted with these challenges, they will share with us their experience of their daily work, the difficulties they encounter in carrying out their missions, their needs, their hopes, and the way in which, each at their own level, they work to ensure that justice is done.
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