Everyday Justice in Colombia & the DRC
Everyday Justice in Colombia
Everyday Justice is a project that aims to build everyday indicators of justice and coexistence from the perspective of rural communities in areas that have experienced intense armed conflict. Through these collectively constructed indicators, an investigation is carried out on the conceptions that the communities have about these concepts, as well as an evaluation of the main peacebuilding institutions functioning in these areas. This knowledge, built from the bottom up, allows us to bring the visions, needs and expectations of the communities about the process of implementing the Peace Agreements closer to the institutions, governments and organizations that work for this purpose.
For this project, we have built a strategic alliance with the Truth Commission (CEV), an institution that, together with the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) and the Unit for the Search of Disappeared Persons (UBPDPD), make up the Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition (SIVJRNR), a system resulting from the Peace Agreements between the FARC-EP and the Colombian State. This alliance allows us to bring the Truth Commission closer to the villages in the territories where we work, contributing to the dimension of Coexistence and Non-Repetition of this institution by knowing the demands, perceptions and expectations of the communities at their most everyday level. The EPI methodology allows for the assessment of the implementation of peace processes in a participatory manner, from the bottom up and from the smallest scale. This project is supported by the National Science Foundation and the United States Institute of Peace.
Where we work
EPI has worked in municipalities affected by the armed conflict, some with a strong presence of peace institutions and other control communities with a marked absence of peace institutions. In these municipalities, we work with groups of people from some villages and surrounding areas to reflect the diversity of the territory.
In the department of Antioquia we have been working since 2019 in the municipalities of Dabeiba and Urrao. Dabeiba is located in the northwest of the department, in the Urabá area. Dabeiba is a municipality that has lived through decades of armed conflict and is now the scene of several processes since the institutionalization of the post-agreement: it is home to one of the Territorial Spaces for Training and Reincorporation (Llanogrande) where former FARC combatants are advancing their process of laying down their arms and reincorporating into civilian life, it has a community that is the subject of collective reparation and is a beneficiary municipality of the PDET (Development Programs with a Territorial Focus). In Dabeiba we work with the communities of Palmira, Tascón, La Balsita, Urama, Cruces, Camparrusia and the ETCR Jacobo Arango.
The municipality of Urrao is located in the southwestern Antioquia sub-region, having suffered sustained violence throughout the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of this one, the presence of institutions and programs created within the framework of the Havana Peace Agreement (2016) is reduced. One of its communities is subject to collective reparation and a group of ex-combatants undergoing reincorporation settled in a peripheral area of its territory. In Urrao we work with the communities of Pavón and La Encarnación.
In the department of Cauca, our work has focused on the northern part since the beginning of 2020. This area continues to experience acute war dynamics despite the peace process. In this region we are working in the municipalities of Buenos Aires and Guachené. Buenos Aires is one of the municipalities where the war has intensified during the post-agreement period. In its territory is located the ETCR La Elvira, there are several communities that are subject to collective reparation by the Victims' Unit, it is part of the PDET municipalities and there are also strong processes of social organizations. There we work with communities in San Francisco, San Miguel and Palo Blanco. Guachené is located in the flatlands of the northern part of the Cauca, until 2006 it was part of Caloto as one of its townships, since then it has become an independent municipality. Guachené has been a receiving municipality for victims of the armed conflict and a strategic corridor for the armed groups. In its territory there is a community that is subject to collective reparation, but in the municipality there is no presence of the different institutions emanating from the Peace Agreement. In Guachené we work with the communities of Veredas Unidas, San José, El Silencio and Veredas del Sur.
Everyday Justice in the DRC
In the DRC, the EPI team is using quasi-experimental design to assess the local experience of reparations and assistance provided by the International Criminal Court (ICC). In the DRC, the ICC’s reparations awards are the first of their kind, implemented in three trials against war criminals active in the DRC’s war-torn Ituri District: Germain Katanga, Thomas Lubanga Diyilo, and Bosco Ntaganda. According to the ICC Trial Chamber, reparations are a “key feature” of the Court’s success, pushing it “beyond...punitive justice”. The ICC’s awards are being provided through processes that are well suited to quasi-experimental design—in combination with “assistance” measures that look very similar in form and targeting select groups of victims where the broader context affected hundreds of thousands.
EPI will work with a community based organization in Ituri to collect everyday indicators of justice, using these to compare communities through surveys along several lines: comparing villages where reparations are provided with similar villages where they are not; comparing victims of the conflict who receive reparations with those who do not; and comparing between recipients of reparations and recipients of assistance. Using local, everyday indicators of justice to measures differences at the village and individual levels, the EPI team will seek to identify how and why reparations make a difference (or not) in victims’ lives, generating both theoretical insight into the lived experienced of “transformative” justice processes and policy-relevant lessons about how to reparative impact in challenging contexts. The EPI methodology allows for the assessment of the implementation of peace processes in a participatory manner, from the bottom up and from the smallest scale.