Justice, it is often said, needs not just to be done, but to be seen to be done. That is true for common street crime, and no less so for efforts to hold accountable those responsible for the most serious crimes – genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. How can the daily march of criminal process be brought home to the communities where the crimes happened, as well as to interested actors around the world?
When the Open Society Justice Initiative first started monitoring proceedings of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague in 2007, that was our aim – to provide radio, television, and print journalists from the Mano River region with a way of covering the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor without the huge expense of being in the courtroom. We believe we made a difference –the site, which aired a diversity of opinions, became a favorite of many people across the globe with connections to Liberia and Sierra Leone.
When, following completion of the appeal, we finally closed the site in January of this year, one comment stood out: “Your website took the trial of Charles G. Taylor to the peoples of Sierra Leone and Liberia. No amount of words can express my appreciation.”
The coverage, less detailed than a court transcript, but more nuanced than a garden variety news report, also provided journalists, human rights advocates, law students, and diplomats with a way to stay in touch with the trial.
Over the past several years, our efforts to make international justice visible to, and meaningful for, affected populations expanded, with four new monitoring sites to cover trials at the International Criminal Court (ICC) of, respectively, Thomas Lubanga; Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui and Germain Katanga; Jean-Pierre Bemba; and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, and Joshua arap Sang.
In 2013, when Guatemala tried former head of state Efrain Rios Montt for genocide, we added another site—to keep the international community informed about the swiftly-moving daily proceedings in Guatemala City.
In addition, since before it began operating in 2007, we have been the only international legal organization to maintain a full-time presence in Phnom Penh to monitor developments at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
Now we are bringing all these initiatives together in a single place, International Justice Monitor. Those who follow existing trials will still be able to do so and follow new ones as they develop.
But we will offer more.
First, we will when appropriate follow pre-trial proceedings and developing situations that may not have reached the trial stage.
Second, we will bring news and analysis of important events, such as trials of international crimes in certain national courts, or efforts by the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute to increase the effectiveness of the ICC.
And third, we will provide a space for informed debate on the state of international justice –open to controversial voices and commentary from across and beyond the Open Society Foundations.
We hope the end result will be a more vibrant debate and a fuller understanding of the mission, the possibilities and the limitations of international justice as a force for accountability, deterrence, and security in a turbulent world.
Please visit www.ijmonitor.org and sign up for regular monitoring and commentary updates.
I write on behalf of all local human right defenders in post conflict Liberia to express our profound gratitude to you all for the wonderful works in the promotion of justice for all through this network.
We will in our individual and collective roles contribute to the process of promoting equal justice for all in the world.
However, if we are to go by the phrase “NO PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE” then it sounds like we the Victims and Activists in Liberia will continue demanding for justice to be done while we will at the same time promote consolidation of the peace process.
Thanks to the Special Court for Sierra Leone through which one of the War Crime offenders in Liberia was prosecuted. As a matter of fact, he was not charged for crimes committed in Liberia and there are lots more in Liberia who committed various war crimes during and after the 14 year brutal armed conflict but still remain unchecked by any law either national or international. Our question is whether Liberia is asafe heven for war criminals? or is Liberia a forgotten nation in terms of addressing crimes against humanity even though there are clear writings on the wall?
Was the international community only interested in the processes of disarming the various fighting groups whose leaders have now snicked their ways into various public offices in the country been heavily paid with donor funds and our hard taxes which could be used to fix the things they damaged senselessly while the victims are dieing in abject poverty as even the current government is not showing any concern about the Victim Reparation programmes as recommended in the ~Truth and Reconcilasion Commission report which is slowly becoming dusty on various Tables of our national leaders.
I am currently in the UK and this is a campaign that will never die no matter how long it takes but justice should be done as there is “NO PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE”.
I therefore call on all other human right defenders to join me in this campaign through whatever means and please feel free to contact me on this email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Human Right Defender.
It’s true no peace without justice..impunity and injustice insecurity has buried many pples lifes.big fish eating small fish.now its time 4 small fish and vitims to relax and enjoy. big fish in hot pan.justice justice and end injustice 4ever