New ILAC Discussion Paper Explores Justice Sector Reform and Prevention in Transitional Settings

ILAC launched today the Discussion Paper on Judges as Peacebuilders: How Justice Sector Reform Can Support Prevention in Transitional Settings.

The first-of-its-kind Paper identifies key lessons showing the critical need in supporting judges as peacebuilders. Although justice systems in transitional settings are frequently badly weakened and tainted by allegations of corruption or complicity in human rights abuses, rebuilding their ability to dispense justice and regaining public trust in their integrity is indispensable to peacebuilding efforts.

Over the long-term, independent and effective justice sector institutions are crucial to containing societal conflict and guaranteeing respect for human rights. In the Discussion Paper, ILAC argues that judges can play a key role in building peace and preventing the resumption of conflict and human rights abuses.

While international support can be crucial to the success of such efforts, the Paper takes up a number of the challenges involved for international actors, including:

  • Download Judges as Peacebuilders: How Justice Sector Reform Can Support Prevention in Transitional Settings. the need to provide long-term support in a holistic manner, taking into account the needs not only of judges but also other key justice sector actors;
  • the importance of developing methodologies that support judicial independence while helping justice sector actors to understand their changing role in transitional societies;
  • the goal of ensuring that reforms translate into broader and more equitable access to justice and
  • the challenge of defining and measuring progress in supporting such reforms.

The Paper draws on the Consortium´s knowledge and experience, especially in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), to examine how justice sector reform can be designed and implemented so that it contributes to transitional justice efforts and conflict prevention.

While aiming to improve its membership´s future activities in this field, the paper is also a contribution to a global dialogue. It supports the efforts of the outgoing UN Special Rapporteur on transitional justice, Pablo de Greiff, to promote measures that can prevent the recurrence of conflict and human rights violations.

The author, ILAC Senior Legal Expert Rhodri Williams, incorporated inputs from eleven ILAC member organisations and individuals, as well as from the UN Special Rapporteurs on transitional justice and the independence of judges and lawyersand contributions from ILAC Programme Manager for the MENA Region, Ulrika Nilsson.

List of ILAC members consulted: