Saturday, July 18, 2009


Political Context
The constraining or enabling environment
Truth Commissions are not created in a vacuum. They are set up in response to specific human rights abuses, which in turn are an outgrowth of the particular history, political culture, and institutional structure of a country. Any given political context provides both enabling and constraining forces.

Like a geographic environment, 'political context' provides a landscape to be mindful of. Other than the chapters to follow, 'Political context' leaves the designer with little room for choice. Rather, it lays the ground for the eight defining parameters of truth commissions. For example, types of human rights abuse will shape the kind of investigation that is necessary. The political transition process will determine the extent to which former perpetrators remain in power. The greater, in turn, the power of former perpetrators, the more limited the investigative power of a commission will be. Political culture and public opinion, too, are important factors for the establishment of truth commissions. A national focus on either healing or justice will shape the creation process significantly. Widespread national support for a commission can balance out opposition from former perpetrators.

We have identified five components of political context that are particularly relevant for the design of a truth commission:

Nature of violence and human rights abuses to be investigated
Nature of political transition
Extent of dominance and power of perpetrators after transition
Prevailing focus on healing or justice
Public support for a truth commission

Nature of violence and human rights abuses to be investigated

In regimes with a history of human rights violations one first question to ask is: Who were the victims? Who were the perpetrators? In designing a truth commission, both victims and perpetrators have to be identified as accurately and as comprehensively as possible. Such identification will lend credibility to a commission's task of investigating the truth. Next it is important to distinguish between human rights abuses that occurred during a civil war, when abuses are commonly found on both sides, and those that were perpetrated by an authoritarian, repressive regime, when perpetrators are mostly found on one side. The more one-sided past human rights abuses are, the less disputed is the task for a commission. In the aftermath of civil wars, on the other hand, a commission's investigation is often discredited by allegations of neglecting the crimes of 'the other side'.

In the following cases, we have identified the three specific aspects of the nature of violence and human rights abuses:
  • Nature of the regime

  • Victims

  • Perpetrators
Read some classic examples from Fiji by Raw Fiji:

Aiyaz Khaiyum is the king pin ruining Fiji

July 18, 2009
We cannot divide military strategy to terrorism schemes. As much as an effective military strategy, so is a terrorism schemes. And while the former may be seen as efforts to uphold moral principles through protection to human values, the latter seeks to disrupt the framework of peace through attacks to civilian targets – using (perhaps killing would be the best word to use)the weak to voice out their fight.

The network between our militarised regime and the terrorist AG defines this relationship well where the innocent individual were made victims. AG, in his ploy is slowly culminating his poisoness vernom to the military Fijians and inch by inch, closing them into his own concert. A time has come when AG calling terms and the helpless military reacts subsequently.

The control is so bad that AG can know order Frank, Teleni & Leweni to shoot their Fijian relatives – blood brothers and sisters, father and mother, uncles and aunts who are members of the Methodist Church. And you know what; these Fijian military figires cannot resist but order their subordinate to “shoot to kill”.

While Frank, Teleni & Leweni attends the burial later with heaps of foods and tabua for their “reguregu”, AG relaxes with his new bird in their hiding place, thrubbing his knucles with glee saying “one down (Methodist Church), one to go (Fijian System).

It hurts when you are a Fijian and read this between the lines. But the solution is simple. Frank, Teleni, Leweni – summon all your children to parade before you and look them in their eyes. There stand is your successor – the juniors. Ask yourself this question while you look at them – can you afford to see your children abusively attacked, assaulted in the streets tomorrow? Are you prepare to see the blood of your children from the reteliation of those who are victims of your deeds.

Me na kakua ni dave na dra ni luvemudou ena vuku ni nomudou valavala. AG is not a blood relations to you. Neither did he sacrifice his life sending you to school to bring where you are today. Think of the hands of your father, mother, brothers, sisters who have braved the little income they have to put you to education and achieve greater things in what you are today. Fiji is counting on you fellas. AG is ruining you and our country.

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