Laura Davis

Archive
Transitional justice

Transitional justice can help societies address the legacy of systematic human rights violations committed during violent conflict and repressive rule through prosecutions, truth-seeking, reparations and institutional reform. Transitional justice is not a new field for the EU, and the EU is a major contributor to transitional justice initiatives, especially international criminal justice. This paper, published by the Initiative for Peacebuilding analyses EU policy provisions for transitional justice. In it, I argue that rather than simply support endeavours undertaken by others, the EU should draw on its experience and international best practice to develop a holistic EU approach to transitional justice to help it meet its foreign policy objectives.

Read More

As the EU becomes increasingly engaged in peace mediation, in this paper published by the Initiative for Peacebuilding, I compare how justice issues have been handled in four mediation processes in Indonesia (Maluku and Aceh), Nepal and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Eight key issues emerged from this comparison concerning the role of the mediator, technical support and assistance to negotiations, and engaging more actors than the mediators and their advisors in peace processes. This paper argues that the EU will need to be able to address these types of questions in order to support durable peace by promoting justice and human rights in peacemaking.

Read More

This report Difficult Peace, Limited Justice: Ten Years of Peacemaking in the DRC, co-authored with Priscilla Hayner and published by the International Center for Transitional Justice, reviews the efforts to address justice during ten years of varied peace negotiations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It takes a close look at the dynamics of peace talks and the resulting accords — including those of Sun City, Ituri, Nairobi, and Goma. Based on extensive interviews of those most closely involved from the national and international communities, it provides an essential backdrop to the current efforts to end fighting in Eastern Congo.

Read More

Reforming the security system in postconflict environments to ensure security agents become protectors of the population is vital for peacebuilding and state-building. Justice-sensitive SSR aims to prevent recurrence and repetition of human rights violations by reforming abusive institutions, increasing their integrity, accountability and legitimacy, and transforming the institution’s role in society, including by empowering the citizens.

In this paper, publishd by the Initiative for Peacebuilding, I draw on research into SSR and transitional justice in Afghanistan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Timor-Leste, and suggest ways in which the EU could improve the substance of its SSR programming and implementation by drawing on lessons from these cases.

Read More

In Congo over the past decade, demands for justice have been largely unmet in peace negotiations: impunity for the worst crimes is entrenched, and the root causes of the conflict remain unaddressed. As the European Union, often through the European Union Special Representatives (EUSRs), is engaging in more peace negotiations around the world, this paper (published by the Initiative for Peacebuilding in 2010) analyses the EUSR’s role in peace deals in Congo and the EU’s policy framework for promoting justice in peacemaking. I offer recommendations for how the EU could strengthen its role in promoting justice and human rights in peace agreements, in the DRC and elsewhere.

Read More

The Congolese security system is incapable of defending the state and the state’s authority, and poses a serious threat to the population, particularly to women and children. Impunity within the security system allows serious human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence, to go unchecked.

In this paper,  published by the Initiative for Peacebuilding, I argue that the EU should seek to incorporate justice-sensitive initiatives within SSR programmes, and encourage the prosecution of human rights violators. Only by tackling the culture of impunity and empowering the population to hold the security system to account, can it become a protector of Congolese citizens’ rights rather than a principal abuser.

Read More