Podcasts from the Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR) conferences on 26-28 June 2009 and 22-23 October 2010
Business and Human Rights in Transition from Conflict to Peace
A panel discussion among an academic, a company representative and practitioners, held on 21 June 2016, hosted by the Oxford Business and Human Rights Research Network and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. How can business support or hinder the process of peace-building after armed conflict? This panel discussion looks at the role of the private sector in countries emerging from conflict. An academic, a company representative and practitioners engage with questions of corporate complicity and accountability in transitional justice settings, as well as the way in which companies may contribute positively to creating peace.
Professor Sabine Michalowski, University of Essex, School of Law
Irene Pietropaoli, Business and Human Rights consultant at Amnesty International in Myanmar
Jo Zaremba, Livelihoods Officer at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Yves Nissim, Vice-President, Head of Transformation and Operation in CSR at Orange
Moderated by Maximilian Spohr, Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law
In this blog, organisers Anneloes Hoff (Oxford Business and Human Rights Research Network) and Isabel Ebert (Business and Human Rights Resource Centre) reflect on the issues discussed by the panel.
Reaching out to whom?: Transitional Justice Institutions, Outreach and Local Communities
Sixth and final panel in the Innovative Media for Change in Transitional Justice conference, A Debate between Journalists, Academics and Practitioners on Transitional Justice, Media and Conflict held on 22-23 June 2015. In the last two decades, there has been growing pressure on international criminal courts to become more ‘victim-oriented’. There has also been increasing support for local and community-based Transitional Justice (TJ) mechanisms precisely because they are supposed to be closer and more accessible to victims and affected communities. In response to these pressures, new courts such as the International Criminal Court and the Special Court for Sierra Leone have developed outreach strategies, using different types of media such as interactive radio programmes and partnering with local media to create a ‘two-way communication’ between international courts and affected communities. It is often ignored that at the same time, there has also been a push by TJ actors and institutions to reach out to combatants, encouraging them to return to their communities and to participate in reintegration and reconciliation processes. For example, Radio Mega FM in Gulu (Uganda) has been instrumental in sending ‘defection messages’ to rebels of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA). This panel will explore the similarities and differences between outreach to these different TJ stakeholders especially with regard to the use of media: Is media used differently in ‘victim outreach’ and ‘perpetrator outreach’ and if so, how? Is outreach simply a ‘top-down’ process, co-opting both victims and perpetrators to support TJ institutions or can it help to create genuine ‘local ownership’ of TJ? How can we reach out to people who fall into the ambiguous category of being victim and perpetrator at the same time? What role do local journalists play in outreach efforts: are they simply a tool of outreach or do they play an independent role? Is there a critical media space at the local level for journalists to resist the justice narratives of different TJ institutions?
Alison Smith – Legal Counsel and Director of the International Criminal Justice Program, No Peace without Justice, Brussels, Gerhard Anders –Lecturer in African Studies, University of Edinburgh, Gaelle Carayon – ICC Legal Officer, Redress, London, Leila Ullrich (Facilitator) –Convenor of Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR), PhD student in Criminology, University of Oxford
Innovative Media for Change?: The Potential and Pitfalls of New Media Technology in TJ
Fifth panel in the Innovative Media for Change in Transitional Justice conference, A Debate between Journalists, Academics and Practitioners on Transitional Justice, Media and Conflict held on 22-23 June 2015. Advocacy groups and networks in TJ have become apt at using Twitter, Facebook, online viral campaigns, radio programmes and documentaries to campaign in favor or against certain approaches of and discourses in transitional and international justice. From the ‘twitter revolutions’ seen during the Arab Spring and the Maidan Protests in Ukraine to concerted social media campaigns such as ‘Kony 2012’ or ‘BringBackOurGirls’, it has become clear that advocacy groups can yield enormous power through use of social media to mobilize the public and sway policy-makers into action. But such enormous power raises important questions: what are the biases in the way social media campaigns portray conflicts, crimes and the ways these are addressed? Is there a danger that the ‘simple messages’ rationale of social media ultimately produces inadequate policy responses to complex conflicts and crimes (e.g. Kony 2012)? How should we make sense of the role of documentaries that while not formally a tool of advocacy often elevate a certain narrative of the conflict and its legacy to the ‘truth of what happened’ (e.g. BBC’s Rwanda’s Untold Story documentary)? Ultimately, we have to ask questions about the ethics and accountability of such ‘media advocacy’ in TJ: who are these advocacy groups accountable to? What ethical standards should be applied?
Phil Clark – Reader in Comparative and International Politics, SOAS, London, Advisory Board Member of Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR), Rob Lemkin – Filmmaker and Founder of Old Street Films, Director and Producer of 'Enemies of the People’ (2009), a documentary on the quest for truth and closure after the Killing Fields of Cambodia, Oxford, Linda Melvern – Investigative Journalist who has extensively researched and written about the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi of Rwanda, Former Consultant to the Military One prosecution team at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), London, Ella McPherson (Facilitator) – Lecturer in the Sociology of New Media and Digital Technology, University of Cambridge
Doing more Harm than Good?: Documentaries, Social Media and Advocacy in TJ
Fourth panel in the Innovative Media for Change in Transitional Justice conference, A Debate between Journalists, Academics and Practitioners on Transitional Justice, Media and Conflict held on 22-23 June 2015. We live in a time where new media technologies such as large data analysis, digital conflict mapping and mobile databases are more frequently used in reporting about volatile political and societal developments. Oftentimes these new media technologies facilitate public and first-hand knowledge about human rights violations on the ground and can enhance local media’s capacity to hold Transitional Justice (TJ) institutions and state authorities accountable. Not least, these new media technologies may also bring minorities’ and victims’ concerns and needs to the public domain. TJ has largely overlooked both the potential and the dangers of new media technologies alike to inform about ongoing transition contexts and to foster local accountability with regard to freedom of information and independent news coverage. New media technologies such as People’s Intelligence or Justiceinfo.net are likely to play an important role in fostering or hindering, promoting and informing about TJ processes. Questions at this panel will be centered on: how do these new media technologies work and what are their goals? Do they simply provide information or can they actually influence TJ policy-making? Can they play a role in conflict prevention by acting as early-warning mechanisms? What challenges do they face? Can we develop a set of guidelines on how these new media technologies can – without raising false expectations - best contribute to TJ?
Pierre Hazan – Director of Justiceinfo.net and Associate Professor at the Academy of Journalism and Media, University of Neuchatel, Christophe Billen – Founder of People’s Intelligence (PI), Analyst with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague, Leon Willems – Director of Free Press Unlimited, Amsterdam, Former Director of Press Now, Gilad Ben–Nun (Facilitator) – Research Fellow, Ernst Ludwig Foundation, University of Leipzig
Media in Divided Societies: Facilitators or Spoilers of Justice and Accountability?
Third panel in the Innovative Media for Change in Transitional Justice conference, A Debate between Journalists, Academics and Practitioners on Transitional Justice, Media and Conflict held on 22-23 June 2015. It is widely known that media can fuel and catalyze conflict as was proven by the so-called hate media in Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia. In those cases, media was instrumentalised to promote hate, distrust and to fuel tensions between religious and ethnic groups that provided the underlying justifications for the heinous killings taking place in both countries. However, less is known about the role media plays in post-conflict transition processes, particularly in so-called divided and highly politicized societies. Against this backdrop, this panel will investigate the ways media is (mis-)used in those contexts, and discuss how media impedes or likewise facilitates positive change towards justice, accountability and reconciliation. The Panel will focus on the following questions: What are possible ways to enable balanced reporting that includes diverse and differing perspectives on the past? In what ways can new media tools facilitate change? What mechanisms exist to enable independent reporting in those highly politicized contexts? In what ways can media advocate for an impartial and balanced view/discourse on the politics of the past and of the present? Case studies will include Somalia, Ethiopia and the Balkans.
Nicole Stremlau – Head of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP), Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford, Marija Ristic – Assistant Editor at Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), Belgrade, Iginio Gagliardone – Research Fellow, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Member of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP), University of Oxford, Nicola Palmer (Facilitator) – Lecturer in Criminal Law, King’s College London, Advisory Board Member of Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR)
Media and the Search for Criminal Evidence: Learning from the (non-) cooperation between journalists and international criminal tribunals
Second panel in the Innovative Media for Change in Transitional Justice conference, A Debate between Journalists, Academics and Practitioners on Transitional Justice, Media and Conflict held on 22-23 June 2015. It is well known that open sources and in particular journalistic sources can play a key role in providing information on the commission of international crimes and as such are relevant to the work of International Criminal Tribunals (ICTs). When it comes to gathering and disclosing information, however, the relationship between media and ICTs becomes complicated: On the one hand, investigators and prosecutors may need open sources and journalistic information to build their cases; material gathered by people in the field might perform an essential function in this respect. At the same time, they are faced with stringent legal requirements that apply to evidence and procedure. On the other hand, journalists are often the first and sometimes the only professionals who witness and record events that are relevant for criminal investigations and prosecutions. However, in the performance of their tasks, they are bound by their own professional obligations – which do not necessarily reflect the interest of law enforcement agencies – and may be faced with various dilemmas when asked to provide information to ICTs or evidence as expert witnesses. In short, the cooperation between media and ICTs is often times fraught with tensions and ambiguities. The panel will use this insight as a starting point to explore the following questions: What are the concerns and expectations of both sides in terms of information gathering and sharing? What are ways of creating a constructive debate between both sides? What principles can be established to ensure a fruitful cooperation? Against this backdrop, the panel aims to discuss first ideas around best practices directed at both practitioners from ICTs and journalists.
Panelists: Payam Akhavan – Professor of International Law, McGill University, Montreal, Former First Legal Advisor to the ICTY-ICTR, served with the UN in Bosnia, Croatia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, and Timor Leste. Nerma Jelacic – Head of External Relations for the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA), London, Former Spokesperson and Head of Outreach and Communications for the ICTY, Ella McPherson – Lecturer in the Sociology of New Media and Digital Technology, University of Cambridge, Don Ferencz (Facilitator) – Convenor of the Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression, Research Associate at the Centre for Criminology, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford