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Partial Justice and Reconciliation for Sierra Leone Women but Reparations and Reform Remain Elusive

Critical Aspects of Gender in Conflict Resolution, Peacebuilding, and Social Movements

ISBN: 978-0-85724-913-5, eISBN: 978-0-85724-914-2

ISSN: 0163-786X

Publication date: 7 November 2011

Abstract

Sierra Leone established two post-conflict institutions to address the crimes committed during its decade long civil war which officially ended in 2002. The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) was established to promote justice by trying “persons who bear the greatest responsibility” (Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, 2002, Article 1) for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law, while the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission (SLTRC) was mandated to offer a forum for victims and perpetrators alike to tell their wartime stories in an effort to promote reconciliation. How were women's expectations for justice and reconciliation met through the two transitional justice mechanisms? Although both institutions made notable attempts to include gender-specific crimes as an important component of their work, the all-important third ingredient in the “toolkit” of transitional justice – reparations and reforms – remained underutilized, and would have had a more positive impact on women's lives than the two institutions. This chapter highlights some of the achievements of the Court and Truth Commission, which were arguably superior to earlier transitional justice institutions, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (SATRC) in addressing women's needs, but concludes that unless social, political, and economic improvements are made that empower women, women will remain vulnerable to sexual and other human rights abuses not only in times of war but in peace time as well.

Citation

Graybill, L.S. (2011), "Partial Justice and Reconciliation for Sierra Leone Women but Reparations and Reform Remain Elusive", Christine Snyder, A. and Phetsamay Stobbe, S. (Ed.) Critical Aspects of Gender in Conflict Resolution, Peacebuilding, and Social Movements (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 32), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 101-120. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0163-786X(2011)0000032008

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited