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Panel: Institutional Approaches, Gender and Gendered Violence in TJ

Queering Childhood in Global Transitional Justice

Dr. Caitlin Biddolph, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Sydney, Australia

Children are intimately involved in war, peace, and transitional justice (TJ), as: victim-survivors and perpetrators of atrocity; peacebuilders; and people with experiences and stories that deserve to be heard. At the global level, the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agenda commits to including young people’s voices in matters of international peace and security. The UN’s TJ architecture, however, has yet to develop a child or youth-specific perspective, although children are present throughout its normative commitments as victims requiring protection. While the development of YPS has increasingly recognised youth as diverse and embodying intersecting identities, global TJ discourse constructs a universalised child subject that flattens the plurality of lives that children lead. In this paper, I take a queer approach to childhood and TJ. I analyse a corpus of UN TJ documents, scrutinising the assumption that children are straight, binary, and cis-gender, an assumption so normalised as to construct children as sexless. Queering allows me to challenge these cisheteronormative discourses and argue that experiences of children with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and sex characteristics matter, including for TJ policy and practice. I also explore queer logics of the passive, vulnerable child victim and the dangerous, perverse child perpetrator in global TJ discourse. My analysis reveals the need to recognise and include queer children in TJ at all levels. It also exposes the limits of a global TJ that upholds the cis-heteronormative status quo and whether such an architecture can articulate queer visions of childhood.

Women’s Rights and Latin American Social Movements: An Analysis of the “Campo Algodonero” Case of the InterAmerican Court of Human Rights

Víctor-Hugo García is an Argentinian-Swedish PhD Candidate at the Ortega y Gasset University Research Institute (Instituto Universitario de Investigación Ortega y Gasset, Madrid, Spain).

Gender-based violence in Mexico has been addressed from several points of view. Thus, the authors highlight both the context of change that took place in  justice during the transition between the end of Partido Revolucionario Institucional rule (1930-2000, henceforth PRI) and the victory of the Partido Acción Nacional (2000-2012, henceforth PAN), and the causes of the increase in such violence. In turn, one of the best-known victories in the struggle for women’s rights took place with the Interamerican Court of Human Rights (henceforth IACHR) ruling in the “Campo Algodonero vs. México” case (2005). This paper focuses on the relatives of the three women victims of that case, and how, after failing before the judiciary individually, they proposed an institutional innovation by organizing themselves as a “social movement”. The essay takes as its starting point Alcántara Sáez’s research on Mexico’s transition from the dominance of the PRI to that of the PAN. Likewise, the characteristics of the social movements described by Hellinger are analysed. Finally, the actions of NGOs and relatives of the victims of the case analysed and the IACHR’s approach to equality are considered. The conclusion shows the potential of the social movements’ work in the framework of transitional justice as a tool for women’s safety and wellbeing, and how they make it possible to overcome the obstacles of a judiciary accustomed to working with individual complaints and inadequate procedures. Finally, the regional impact achieved through the IACHR ruling is exposed.

Exploring Top-Down Approaches to Enhancing Victims’ Participation in Transitional Justice Processes at the Institutional Level in Ukraine (with a Special Focus on Conflict-related Sexual Violence)

Dr. Iuliia Anosova, postdoctoral fellow, Human Rights Center, Faculty of Law and Criminology, Ghent University

Even though the armed conflict at the territory of Ukraine takes place for more than 9 years already and the ongoing full-scale war for 1,5 years, it is still not very common to discuss the issues of transitional justice in relation to the country. Nevertheless, there have been quite significant developments in this area, mostly promoted by the international actors interested in upholding more or less stable functioning of the social institutions in conditions of war. The paper is aimed at discussing such developments, with a particular focus on top-down modes of engagement of CRSV victims` participation in the formal mechanisms of transitional justice, such as criminal justice and reparations. The choice to focus on formal mechanisms of transitional justice and the top-down approaches is made for several reasons. First, because currently they are prevailing due to relevant novelty of the very idea of transitional justice for Ukraine and also due to the barriers posed by the ongoing war to development of the informal and bottom-up practices of transitional justice. Secondly, because of the positionality of the author, both as a researcher with the background in public international law and a lawyer in Ukrainian civil society, which helps her to better navigate legal and political scene of the respective area. As a result of the exploration, the author will draw conclusions about how well the applied practices are adjusted to Ukrainian context, how efficient they are so far and how beneficial to the victims and communities they are aimed at.

An Exception within an Exception? Gender, Power Dynamics and Transitional Justice in Post-Revolutionary

Carla Prado, PhD candidate in International Politics and Conflict Resolution (University of Coimbra, Portugal)

Ever since the 2010-2011 revolution, Tunisia has been – at least until recently – considered an exceptional case among its peers for being the only country in the region who has gone through a process of truth-seeking associated with transitional justice measures to deal with an authoritarian political legacy Benedizione and Scotti, 2015). However, among the vast literature on the subject, one topic is still comparatively quite understudied: the political construction of victim identities and the impact they have on the process as a whole. In order to contribute to this topic, this paper and presentation will follow three main lines of research. We will start by a brief literature review of the subject, following Jacoby’s (2015: 513) distinction from “victimisation” (the harm suffered) and “victimhood” (collective identities formed after the fact in order to seek redress); secondly, by looking into the specifics of gender and its impact on our perceptions of victimhood (SchwöbelPatel, 2016); and third, by delving deeper into the specific context of the Tunisian case regarding victim participation within its Truth and Dignity Commission (2014-2019) based both on secondary sources and also on interviews conducted online during our fieldwork in 2020-2021. Our aim is, therefore, to see if there was any sort of innovative measures within what was called the Tunisian exception or, on the other hand, if it was limited to reproduce global formulas of gender dynamics and perceptions in similar situations.