By: Marc Gancedo

Today at the 8th meeting of the 48 th HRC session, the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice and Reparations took place. The Special Rapporteur opened the session reminding the council of the pending visits to be re-scheduled due to the global heath crisis. Fabian Salvioli reminded the council of the impunity left behind by transitional justice processes and reminded states of their obligation to investigate gross human rights violations and international crimes and give out proportional and adequate judgements.

During the session, emphasis was put on the need to ensure that justice is not sacrificed for peace and that victims should not be forced to face such a choice. Transitional justice is held by five pillars: truth, justice, reparations, non-recurrence and memory. Most delegations stressed the importance of fair and impartial judiciary processes and victim-centred approaches. They jointly rejected the adoption of a statute of limitations and amnesty laws as well as other mechanisms conducive to impunity. Delegations from African countries like Cameroon, Uganda, Gambia and South Sudan demonstrated their commitment to transitional justice and presented the advances made on this end.  

The United Kingdom and Sri Lanka were at the centre of the interactive dialogue. The Special Rapporteur expressed his concern for the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka and the unsettling prospect of the British government’s plan to grant unconditional amnesty for Troubles-related crimes committed by security forces and paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. To this point, Amnesty International condemned the UK’s unlawful government plan and requested the Human Rights Council to further monitor the case.

In his final statement, the Special Rapporteur insisted on the importance of reconciliation as a means to restore the trust on the state and secure lasting peace that cannot be found solely through judiciary means. Finally, the Special Rapporteur took note of the suggestions to look into the violations of human rights committed by non-state actors and announced that this would be the underlying theme of his next report.

GICJ stands by the findings of the Special Rapporteur. We demand states currently undertaking processes of transitional justice to take a restorative and victim-centred approach based on the five pillars mentioned above that will ensure that the voices of victims are heard and their rights protected. 

Justice, Human rights, Geneva, geneva4justice, GICJ, Geneva International Centre For Justice

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