International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Transitional Justice from a Female Perspective

Last Monday I attended a screening at the CSGS of the film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell (http://www.praythedevilbacktohell.com/index.php), which tells the story of a group of Liberian women who attempted to put an end to the violence in Liberia, perpetuated by Charles Taylor’s regime and the group of rebels, LURD, trying to overthrow Taylor’s regime. The film credits the women with playing a large part in ensuring that the peace conference in Ghana occurred and that a peace treaty was signed. Additionally, the first female president in the African continent was elected shortly after all of these events occurred.

The blog for the movie (http://praythedevilbacktohell.com/blog/) links to another article on Slate where women in Togo used similar tactics to the women in Liberia, such as a sex strike, to encourage the resignation of Togo’s president.

Additionally, the International Center for Transitional Justice wrote a report titled “Liberia is Not Just a Man Thing: Transitional Justice Lessons for Women, Peace, and Security”, where they explored some transitional justice mechanisms from a gendered perspective, looking at how women have participated in and benefited from transitional justice processes and what reforms have been made to ensure that sexual crimes are not committed again.

In the past, there has not been much specific attention paid to the punishment of perpetrators of sexual violence and reparations paid to women who have suffered from rape and other forms of sexual violence. Should special efforts be made to focus on women specifically during the transitional justice process? Should women be given priority in the truth-telling process during truth commissions? How can this problem of not fully punishing and providing reparations for sexual violence be solved?

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