Presentation on theme: "Justice and Coexistence Work in West Africa, ’06 - ’09 Closing the Gap Between the Promise of Democracy and Reality on the Ground."— Presentation transcript:
Justice and Coexistence Work in West Africa, ’06 - ’09 Closing the Gap Between the Promise of Democracy and Reality on the Ground
2 Ethics Center Programs in Justice and in Coexistence Programs in International Justice and Society aim to promote judicial dialogue and to disseminate information about international justice and human rights worldwide. Programs in International Justice and Society Coexistence International facilitates the creation of coexistence networks, develops resources for practitioners, and promotes the use of a coexistence ‘lens’ in complementary fields (governance, transitional justice). Coexistence International
3 Why West Africa as a focus? West Africa is a region where judiciaries are under-funded and under-supported but whose judges are eager to learn and to exchange experiences with colleagues, particularly those in the international sphere. Many other actors in the region are working for judicial reform. Most countries in the region have suffered from some form of violent conflict in the past decade. Many of these societies still struggle with how to manage deep-rooted societal divisions within the context of democracy.
4 The “Justice Gap” Formal separation of powers in most countries but judicial independence often threatened. International treaties signed but not implemented. Impunity for international crimes. Insufficient continuing legal education. Problems of access to justice for marginalized populations. Women particularly disadvantaged.
5 The “Coexistence Gap” Profound distrust in governments and judiciaries. Frustration that laws and recommendations go ignored. Democratic “essentials”, as implemented, can intensify identity-based divisions. Lack of attention paid to root causes of conflict and divisions in a society. Justice system perceived as inaccessible to many, further exacerbating tensions within society.
6 Senegal January 2006 Brandeis Institute for International Judges 1 st West African Judicial Colloquium Brandeis Institute for International Judges 1 st West African Judicial Colloquium
7 Ghana – October 2007 2 nd West African Judicial Colloquium 2 nd West African Judicial Colloquium
8 Ghana – November 2008 The Role of Judiciaries in Promoting Gender Justice in Africa Gender Justice
9 Know Your Rights! A project that aims to provide information about human rights to African populations in their own languages. “Community dialogues”: pilot activity in Senegal for women who want to learn about human rights. Sutura: Wolof word meaning "discretion.” A moral attribute so central to Senegalese society that individuals often conceal facts or events that could bring shame on themselves or their family members. Sutura can impede justice in situations of sexual violence.
10 The Impact of our Justice Work Judicial dialogue for high court judges from 17 countries in the region. Helped participants to expand their networks and receive more training. Buy-in from regional law faculties and civil society organizations. Effectiveness maximized through partnership with international organizations and foundations. Wide distribution of event proceedings. Linked Brandeis alumni in the region to justice initiatives.
11 Ghana - June 2007 Gender, Justice, and Reconciliation
12 Liberia - February 2008 Transitional Justice, Reconciliation, and Coexistence Transitional Justice, Reconciliation, and Coexistence
13 Ghana - October 2008 Democracy, Coexistence, and Conflict in West Africa Democracy, Coexistence, and Conflict in West Africa
14 N igeria - January 2009 Faith, Ethnicity, and Governance: Coexistence Sensitive Policy and Partnerships in Nigeria Faith, Ethnicity, and Governance: Coexistence Sensitive Policy and Partnerships in Nigeria
15 The Impact of our Coexistence Work Encouraged practitioners from various fields to introduce a coexistence lens into their work. Developed network of approx. 200 coexistence advocates in West Africa. Facilitated the creation of nascent coexistence networks in Cameroon and Nigeria. Launched CI’s first policy recommendations, Coexistence- sensitive Approaches to Transitional Justice. Formally received by Liberian TRC. Disseminated coexistence research, publications, and lessons in English and French to a range of organizations. Involved Brandeis students from the region in CI’s ongoing work.
16 Short-term Goals of Center’s Justice Work Work with partners to establish permanent judicial training center in West Africa. Facilitate spread of “best practices” for judicial reform and civil society action. Disseminate information on international law and human rights in multiple languages.
17 Short-term Goals of Center’s Coexistence Work Expand regional network of coexistence advocates and support national networks. Advocate for coexistence-sensitive approaches to transitional justice. Provide training and technical assistance on coexistence-sensitive approaches to transitional justice and governance.