The last year has seen significant global challenges, including an unprecedented level of humanitarian need, rising inequality and exclusion, growing climate change impacts, and increasing threats to our shared security. Nevertheless, the international community has taken important steps in addressing these challenges by implementing the recent bold commitments to foster sustainable peace.
Natascha Zupan and Sylvia Servaes
“Unless Colombian NGOs successfully convey their multidimensional understanding of peace to the international development community, the paradoxical situation could quickly arise in which overseas funding for their work is ultimately linked to the perpetuation of the armed conflict, not to the attainment of a lasting peace.”
After the 2006 war in Lebanon and the ensuing political deadlock and escalation throughout 2007, the need for a more thorough understanding of the conflict and peacebuilding context and for reflection on options for peacebuilding by development and peace organisations became apparent. As a result, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (hbs), the German Development Service (DED), the Forum Civil Peace Service (forumZFD) and the Working Group on Development and Peace (FriEnt) jointly commissioned a study whose objective is twofold:
How does aid to transitional justice work? What are the patterns, types and causes of such aid? Research on transitional justice (TJ) has boomed in the last couple of decades. In recent years the policy world has also started assisting countries coming out of periods of massive violence. Yet even if this donor engagement emerged more than a decade ago, we still know little about the dynamics of external economic assistance to national transitional justice efforts. This study fills some of this gap.
Transitional justice is the process by which societies emerging from armed conflict or oppressive rule deal with the legacy of mass atrocity and past human rights abuse.
DDR programs have traditionally been designed and implemented in total isolation from transitional justice measures, of which reparations for victims is one kind. It is only recently that the approach that considers DDR as essentially a technical issue to be decided exclusively on the basis of military and security concerns with no regard for political or justice considerations has begun to be questioned. The incentives to try to bring the worlds of the peacemaker and of the justice and human rights promoter together, however, are manifold.
For the past three years, FriEnt, the German Working Group on Development and Peace, has been focussing on the subject of transitional justice. FriEnt has organized a series of roundtable discussions for its member organizations, provided expertise and advice and has published a guidance paper on transitional justice and dealing with the past.
"Peace", as the Secretary-General of the United Nations wrote in 2004, "cannot be achieved unless the population is confident that redress for grievances can be obtained through legitimate structures for the peaceful settlement of disputes and the fair administration of justice" (3). In a way, his words echoed the sentiment expressed by a prominent Rwandan observer who, eying the remnants of the onslaught in his country a decade earlier, stated that "what we need now is justice and cash, in that order".
The transitional justice concept, with its various mechanisms, offers practical starting points for the planning of measures in peace oriented development work. In particular, it enables state and civil society actors to link and ensure complementarity between their various activities. The point in time and the form and combination of mechanisms that can be applied in a given country will depend on the specific context. For development and peace organisations, this raises ques-tions about their own role, choice of partners, and the design and timing of ac-tivities, etc.
On 17 October 2006, the Working Group for Development and Peace (FriEnt) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) jointly organised an international workshop on the "Responsibility to Protect: Perspectives of the South and the North". The workshop aimed to discuss the comprehensive nature of the concept and find answers to questions regarding its implementation.
On 26 and 27 September 2006, the Working Group for Development and Peace (FriEnt) and the German Development Institute (DIE) jointly organised an international workshop on "Dealing with Spoilers in Peace Processes". The workshop aimed to find answers to questions regarding spoilers in peace processes and identify possible follow-up activities within the frame of FriEnt's new priority topic "spoilers".
How can NGOs and think tanks from the academic field contribute more effectively to shaping international strategies for crisis prevention at national and EU level? And how are state and non-state actors already cooperating in crisis pre-vention and peace-building policy? These were the questions at the core of the workshop documented in this report.