Impunity Watch and partners present the Akariho Karavugwa programme to the Burundian government
On 11 December 2018, in collaboration with our three partner organisations, THARS, MIPAREC and Association Dushirehamwe, Impunity Watch organised an official presentation of our Akariho Karavugwa programme to the Ministry of Human Rights, Social Affairs and Gender, and the provincial and communal authorities of the programme intervention zones.
70th anniversary of the Genocide Convention
On 9 December 2018, we conmemorate the 70th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This occasion provides a good opportunity to highlight the paramount importance of this international treaty for universal justice and to reflect upon the root causes of genocide, and the challenges that the international community and affected communities must face in the fight against racism, discrimination, and hate crimes.
Download our report on this important international instrument and its application in the genocide in Guatemala here, available in English and Spanish (original).
Video: The Path to Justice ('El Camino a la Justicia')
On 25 November 2018 we commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. On this occasion, it is essential to shed light on the efforts made by women to end violence against them, especially in conflict and post-conflict countries. Conflicts have different impacts on men and women victimising the latter and enclosing them under stereotypes. If the underlying reasons are not dealt with and root causes left unaddressed, violence continues after the end of the conflict, leaving the public sphere and arising in the private sphere instead. Guatemala is no exception.
Read more | The video is available in English and Spanish (original).
Policy Forum on transitional justice and dealing with the past in South Kivu, DRC
On 21 November 2018, Impunity Watch in partnership with CCJT and RACOJ organised a Policy Forum in Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) bringing together provincial authorities and political actors from South Kivu Province. Participants discussed the findings and recommendations of Impunity Watch's research on transitional justice in the DRC. Attending political actors reflected on their role in the establishment, promotion and implementation of mechanisms and initiatives for dealing with the past. A similar forum was organized a week earlier in Goma for political actors from the North Kivu Province.
A short report on the Forum is available in English and French (original).
Guatemalan court sentences Santos Lopez to 5160 years in prison
On 21 November 2018, a Guatemalan court sentenced Santos Lopez, a former soldier, to 5,160 years in prison for the massacre of 171 people in the community of Las Dos Erres, in northern Guatemala, in 1982. This massacre was perpetrated by members of the Kaibiles, a special counterinsurgency force trained to kill in combat, and this is the third trial for this case.
Read our note on the trial in Spanish.
Policy Forum on transitional justice and dealing with the past in North Kivu, DRC
On 14 November 2018, Impunity Watch, in partnership with Pole Institute, organised a Policy Forum with provincial authorities and political actors from North Kivu Province in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. The objectives of the Forum were to present the findings from Impunity Watch's research into transitional justice in the DRC, including the recommendations developed by the local population. The Forum also provided space to discuss the role that political actors can play in the establishment, the promotion and the implementation of mechanisms and initiatives for dealing with the past.
A short report on the Forum is available in English and French (original).
Policy Brief: Transformative reparations for survivors of sexual violence in post-conflict societies
On 20 November 2018, Impunity Watch published its latest Policy Brief on reparations for survivors of sexual violence in post-conflict societies In this Policy Brief, we present an analysis of the impact of sexual violence during the armed conflict in Guatemala and the limited measures of reparation offered by the State to the survivors of this great
Read more | The Polic Brief is available in English and Spanish.
The Genocide trial against former head of intelligence of Guatemala enters its final phase
With the judgment scheduled for 26 September 2018, the genocide retrial against the former Head of Intelligence of Guatemala, Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, enters its final phase. Rodríguez Sánchez faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity against the indigenous Ixil people of Northern Guatemala, perpetrated while he was head of military intelligence under Ríos Montt's dictatorship from 1982 to 1983.
More information on the genocide trial can be found here in both English and Spanish.
Joint Letter to the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Guatemala
In a letter to High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on 14 September 2018, 68 human rights organisations expressed grave concern about recent developments in the country including President Jimmy Morales’ decision not to extend the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). The Guatemalan authorities subsequently barred the entry of CICIG’s Commissioner Iván Velásquez on 4 September 2018.
Read more | The letter is available in Spanish.
Joint statement on Guatemalan president's decision not to renew the CICIG mandate and barring the entry of Commissioner Ivan Velasquez into Guatemala
On 31 August 2018, President Jimmy Morales issued a decision not to renew the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). Subsequently, on 4 September 2018, the Guatemalan authorities barred the Commissioner of the CICIG, Iván Velásquez, from entering the country.
Joint Statement: Guatemala must guarantee the protection and preservation of its national police archive
The Guatemala National Police Archive, which contains important information on enforced disappearances and human rights violations committed during the internal armed conflict, is at risk of being mismanaged due to changes announced by the Government and the UNDP in Guatemala.
Read our joint statement (in Spanish) with other international organisations on the State's responsibility to protect archives that contain valuable information for truth seeking and justice.
New report on transitional justice in Guatemala
On 26 July 2018, Impunity Watch launched its monitoring report on transitional justice in Guatemala corresponding to the period 2014-2017. The report examines the main advances and obstacles in the policies of truth, justice and reparation over these last four years. It highlights the importance of the trials of genocide, the Embassy of Spain, Sepur Zarco, and recently Molina Theissen, but at the same time notes the State’s lack of interest in the finding of more than 45,000 victims of enforced disappearance, the absence of a national search plan, and the refusal of the Army to provide information about the disappeared.
20th anniversary of the Rome Statute: Interview with Gentil Kasongo of Impunity Watch
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute creating the International Criminal Court, IW researcher Gentil Kasongo was invited to discuss the complementarity between local initiatives of transitional justice in South Kivu (DRC) and the work of national and international jurisdictions. Published on JusticeInfo.net, Gentil discusses the findings of IW’s latest research report in our Great Lakes Dispatches series, Local Initiatives and Popular Expectations: Transitional Justice in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (June 2018).
The interview (in French) can be found here.
Impunity Watch organises a cross-regional workshop on mapping and addressing patterns and root causes of sexual and gender-based violence (S)GBV in Iraq
Aware of the need for and importance of a more comprehensive and deeper analysis of (S)GBV in Iraq, from 25 to 27 June 2018, Impunity Watch with Iraqi Al Amal Association and PAX, organised a training on mapping of patterns and root causes of (S)GBV in Iraq from 2003 to 2018. The training took place in Beirut.
Restricted access - promises and pitfalls of victim participation in transitional justice mechanisms
As victim participation becomes absorbed by transitional justice mainstream policy, the actual impact and effectiveness of particular victim participation measures and models remains uncertain and illusive. Simultaneously, in view of the myriad of political and socio-economic realities surrounding victims and victimhood in some of the most devastating conflict contexts of the past two decades, the idea of victims as empowered actors driving transitional justice is slowly giving way to processes wherein victims appear, in fact, as marginalised and disempowered.
Policy Brief: Genre et justice transitionnelle au Burundi : entre roles sexo-specifiques, hierarchies & dynamiques politiques
As part of our FLOW programme in Burundi, we conducted a research on the importance of integrating a gender dimension in the transitional justice process. We produced Policy Brief, in French, entitled: “Genre et Justice Transitionnelle au Burundi: entre rôles sexo-spécifiques, hiérarchies & dynamiques politiques (Juillet 2018)." [Gender and Transitional Justice in Burundi: between the gender-specific roles, hierarchies, and political dynamics].
Read More | The Policy Brief is available in French.
Women of Guatemala give dignified burial to 172 victims of the internal armed conflict
On 21 June 2018, the national day against enforced disappearance in Guatemala, women from the National Coordinator of Widows of Guatemala (CONAVIGUA) buried the remains of 172 unidentified victims of the internal armed conflict. The Foundation of Forensic Anthropology of Guatemala (FAFG) found these remains in the old military detachment in San Juan Comalapa, Chimaltenango, during exhumations that took place between 2004 and 2005.
Read more | For the full story in Spanish, please click here.
Local initiatives and popular expectations: transitional justice in South Kivu, DRC
Impunity Watch is pleased to announce the publication of a Research Brief entitled 'Local Initiatives and Popular Expectations: Transitional Justice in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo'.
Read more | The Research Brief is available in French.
Impunity Watch releases new report: Keeping the promise: addressing impunity in the Western Balkans
A new report by Impunity Watch entitled “Keeping the Promise: Addressing Impunity in the Western Balkans” finds that twenty years after the end of the conflict, impunity for the crimes committed in the 1990s is widespread and ingrained throughout the region. Measures taken in the area of transitional justice, such as prosecution, reparation, and institutional reform have by and large failed to tackle these structures of impunity. According to the report, to date, the Western Balkans continue to be a battleground of conflicting narratives, in which each side claims victimhood and blames the other for past abuses.
International Seminar: What is the future of reparations in Guatemala?
On 8 and 9 May 2018, Impunity Watch organised an international seminar on reparations in Guatemala. Fifteen years since the establishment of the National Reparations Program (PNR), the seminar sought to promote critical debate on reparations policies in Guatemala and to produce recommendations to develop an integral reparations plan for victims of human rights violations that were perpetrated during the internal armed conflict. Over 150 people participated in the seminar, including public officials, human rights defenders, victims, and members of the diplomatic corps.
Read More | Click here to read to full public note in Spanish.
Joint Letter: Accountability, redress, and the future of Syria
In an open letter published today, 15 Non-Governmental Organizations are calling upon the EU and the UN to ensure that accountability and justice for victims will be at the forefront of any discussions surrounding the “future of Syria” at the “Brussels II Conference.”
Read the full letter
Iraqi activists meet Tunisian counterparts to discuss lessons learnt on dealing with gender-based abuse and violence
Since 2003, Iraq has been struggling to find a way to deal with its repressive past and violent present. Impunity Watch together with Iraqi Association Al Amal and PAX launched in 2016 a programme on “Engendering the Transition to Peace and Security in Iraq” that aims to map sexual and gender-based violence in Iraq, expose its root causes and enhance local capacity to address it. As part of this programme, the three organisations organised an exchange trip to Tunisia for a group of Iraqi activists and officials.
Leadership and participation of women in the justice sector in Guatemala
On November 28, 2017 Impunity Watch presented the report “Leadership and participation of women in justice of Guatemala” in the Judicial Palace to an audience of 70 people including judges, magistrates, public officers, members of women and human rights organizations, and reporters. The magistrate José Antonio Pineda Barales, president of the Judicial Body and the Supreme Court of Justice opened the event.
Policy Brief: Masculinities, violence against women in leadership and participation in transitional societies: Burundi and Guatemala
On the occasion of the 17th anniversary of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, Impunity Watch, Oxfam Ibis, UNWOMEN and the Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations convened a side event on masculinities, violence against women in leadership, and their participation in peace and justice within transitional societies. This latest Policy Brief provides a country-specific and thematic contribution for the side event aiming to tackle the persistent gap as regards gender norms, men and masculinities in the full implementation of UNSCR 1325.
Assessing the potential impact of the Kosovo Specialist Court
Assessing the potential impact of the Kosovo Specialist Court is an in-depth study authored by Dr. Gezim Visoka of Dublin City University and produced by PAX and Impunity Watch. The study presents a comprehensive assessment of the potentially profound positive societal effects of the work of the Court, as well as the risks that work poses to intra-ethnic and inter-ethnic relations and political stability in Kosovo. It recommends a wide range of actions to be implemented by key institutions in Kosovo, including an inclusive programme of outreach and public dialogue focused on the Court, and a whole-of-society approach to transitional justice.
You can download the report in Albanian, English or Serbian.
Breaking the cycle of division: Justice for all Iraqis
Together with PAX, Impunity Watch published an alert addressing the worrying trends observed in current stabilisation and transitional justice efforts in Iraq. As the military campaign against ISIS in Iraq reaches a critical stage, strategies to achieve justice for victims of grave human rights abuses tend to remain selective, ill-adapted to local needs and disconnected from stabilisation and reconciliation efforts. In the international and national debate on accountability in Iraq, emphasis is placed on ISIS crimes, while abuses and crimes by other perpetrators are hardly on the agenda.
Read More | Click here to read the full report and recommendations.
Blog Post- The Sepur Zarco trial: How to successfully litigate wartime sexual violence for a transformative impact?
During the Guatemalan civil war (1960-1996), in the military base of Sepur Zarco, 15 indigenous q’eqchi’ women were forced to clean the soldiers’ clothes, cook, and serve them without pay, while being subjected to physical and sexual abuse for months or sometimes years on end, receiving anti-contraceptive pills and injections to prevent pregnancies. Today, on the occasion of the 2nd anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, we gain inspiration from the Sepur Zarco women.