Exploring restorative justice to redress and prevent conflict-related sexual violence in Colombia’s transitional justice process
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Subjectconflict-related sexual violence; DDR; ex-combatant reintegration; reparations; restorative justice; transitional justice
Ample research exists on the systematic weaponization of sexual violence (SV) in conflict, commonly known as conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). Personal accounts from CRSV victims along with calls for their healing abound. Societies transitioning out of conflict aim to incorporate a restorative justice (RJ) approach in their transitional justice (TJ) mechanisms and processes. Colombia’s current Peace Accord with the FARC-EP is unique in its commitment to addressing CRSV in its TJ process from an RJ lens. However, academic discourse with respect to CRSV is itself is just emerging, and specific knowledge about how to apply RJ to CRSV is wanting. Thus, questions remain about how to design justice frameworks for CRSV that incorporate RJ and still meet international law thresholds. To address this knowledge gap, this participatory action research (PAR) project engaged twenty-eight Colombian participants: six CRSV victims; one CRSV victim’s mother; seven victims’ organization representatives; two Colombian RJ organization representatives; seven FARC ex-combatants (including one self-admitted SV victim); one representative each of two Colombian State agencies governing TJ; and one international non-governmental organization (NGO) representative engaged in ex-combatant reintegration. They discussed needs, perspectives and possibilities for CRSV redress and reparations, and their responses informed six recommendations for RJ opportunities to redress and prevent CRSV in Colombia’s TJ process.
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