Policy paper on involving Colombia’s victims abroad in the truth commission

Victims of the armed conflict in Colombia are spread all over the globe. Even more important it will be to hear their voices – and thus their experiences – within the framework of the truth commission (CEV) in Colombia. It was a pleasure to compile this short policy paper with Andrei Gomez and Gwen Burnyeat for Rodeemos el Diálogo and hopefully the lessons learned from five other cases can be useful for the Colombian truth commission. Check out the document here.

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The book “Get the truth out of truth commissions” is out!

Dealing with the past is always a complex endeavor and it is particularly difficult when gross human rights violations are involved that are carried out during war or armed conflict. Truth commissions have become a standard response to address such a difficult past in the hope to provide voice to victims and provide a path to a non-violent future. Being part of the transitional justice toolkit, truth commissions are aimed to satisfy the rights of victims to truth and symbolic reparation.
Continue reading “The book “Get the truth out of truth commissions” is out!”

My favourite 10 political podcasts in 2016

Some three years ago, I discovered podcasts. Sure, I knew already beforehand that podcasts exist. Yet, as so much in life, one does not necessarily pick up what is offered. This is what happened with me as I ignored podcasts for way too long. In the last years the production of podcasts has been thriving and ever more news outlets bring out their own podcasts. Continue reading “My favourite 10 political podcasts in 2016”

The Many Faces of Extremism

Extremism has always existed although it is since the 9/11 attacks that many people around the world began to fear it. As extremism is a complex phenomenon, scholars and policy makers have significant differences as to what extremism is and is not. Desmond Tutu defined extremism this way: “when you do not allow for a different point of view; when you hold your own views as being quite exclusive, when you don’t allow for the possibility of difference” [1]. Continue reading “The Many Faces of Extremism”

Getting back to the start: South Sudan establishes a unity government

It is truly an absurd situation. After two and half years of a bloody civil war in South Sudan, we have the same political situation as it started. A unity government will force the two main rivals to work together and bring the “youngest state” of the international government back on track.Doubts remain how peace can be uphold due to the destruction of the country’s weak infrastructure and the poor revenue of the state due to low oil prices. The key question though is how to bring about reconciliation, justice and peace in a divided country. Continue reading “Getting back to the start: South Sudan establishes a unity government”

History in the making in Colombia: Agreement about justice and reparations for victims

The word “historic” is used quite a bit these days. And yet, the agreement reached between the Colombian government and the FARC is such an historic event, although we will have to wait most likely until 23 March 2016, until a final peace agreement is going to be signed. What happened? The government and the leftist guerrilla group reached an agreement inside the fourth point on the negotiation agenda, the victims chapter and decided to sign a final peace agreement in the next six months. Continue reading “History in the making in Colombia: Agreement about justice and reparations for victims”

20 years later, the ghosts of Srebrenica are still alive

The mass killings of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys around Srebrenica carried out by Bosnian Serb troops in July 1995 is widely referred to as the single worst massacre in Europe after World War II. The cruel events happened in the very last months of the civil war in Bosnia (1992-1995) and involved the failure of Dutch UN peacekeeping troops and the international community at large to protect innocent civilians. On 11 July 2015, the 20 years commemoration of the genocide takes place, bringing many world leaders to the memorial in Potocari. In Serbia as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina itself, however, the population is still split about what happened and how “Srebrenica” should be remembered. The ugly business of memory politics is still in the making. Continue reading “20 years later, the ghosts of Srebrenica are still alive”

Gloomy times ahead, but hope dies last: Greece’s way forward after the referendum

More than 60% of Greeks rejected an outdated and expired rescue package offered to Greece by its European partners. Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ strategy for an “all in” at the negotiation table worked, at least for now. His government can now claim that Greeks are tired of austerity and need growth. While all reasonable observes would agree that it is growth that Greece needs, the country is at the brink. However, also the Eurozone is facing its worst crisis since it started to exist in 1999. Continue reading “Gloomy times ahead, but hope dies last: Greece’s way forward after the referendum”