On 19 March 2019, Jeju Dark Tours and other NGOs in Korea held an international symposium <International Human Rights Standards: Truth and Justice in South Korea. The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Mr. Fabian Salvioli, joined the symposium and presented his keynote speech under the title "The Importance of a Comprehensive Approach to Transitional Justice Measures". Here, we are sharing his keynote speech and video.
Association for the Bereaved Families of the 4·3 Victims, Memorial Committee for the Jeju April 3rd Uprising and Massacre
Jeju Dark Tours, Korean Council for Democratic Martyr, MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, The April 9 Unification & Peace Foundation, The Center for Historical Truth and Justice, The Committee for the Truth Finding of the Brothers Home Incident, The Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, The Truth Foundation
The Importance of a Comprehensive Approach to Transitional Justice Measures
UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Mr. Fabian Salvioli
Good morning. I will speak in English. It’s not my mother tongue. I speak in Spanish. But the organisation asked me to speak in English. I would like to first of all to thank you very much to organisers by this impressive symposium. It’s a big honour for me. In here, and especially to my dear friend Gayoon Baek, and after two days flying, I am first time in Jeju second time in South Korea but first time in Jeju, with little bit jet lag, because this two days of flying from Argentina to South Korea. But anyway, very happy and very honoured to be here.
Let me first of all, to express my deep solidarity with the victims, their relatives, and all people working for trust and justice in South Korea. I really admire your job. And I am here to cognate with you in your very relevant task.
Ok, the title of my presentation today is the importance of a comprehensive approach to transitional justice measures. Let me start saying that for a (transitional? 4:14) justice process, we need transition. That means, it is necessary to move from the authoritarian regime to a democracy or exit from armed conflict to the peace. Transitional justice so is full range of processes and mechanisms associate to establish for dealing with the large past abuses, in order to assure accountability, serve justice, and achieve reconciliation.
The mandate was established by the human rights council, in the resolution 18/7, then the council established the mandate of the special rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparations and guarantee of non-repetition to deal with the situations in which there have been gross violations in human rights, and serious violations of international humanitarian law. The solutions specifically mention five areas to work in the mandate; individual persecutions, reparations, truth-seeking, institutional reform and vetting of public embrace on officers. The resolution assigned twelve functions to the special rapporteur. I will just mention some.
The first one is to provide upon request technical assistance or advice (6:09) on matter of transitional justice. Second, to getting information of national situations third, to identify good practices, to conduct country visits. Perhaps I can be here in the future in the official capacity of a special rapporteur visiting your country I hope so. Four, to make recommendation on judicial and non-judicial measures in the (6:46) implementing strategies policies and measures to address gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law. The resolution ask the special rapporteur (7:00) to carry out these tasks through regular dialogue. So it is in (responsible? 7:08) to have a dialogue with the government, with the civil societies, with the non-governmental organisations, with the representatives of victims, with other relevant United Nations stakeholders, agencies, and mechanisms. Of course, it’s also ask the special rapporteur to integrate a gender perspective. Gender perspective and apply a victims centred approach.
I would like to under scope and to remark that the victim centred approach is the back bone of the work carried out by mandate. As Gayoon said, I am a human rights defender, and for me, all processes of transitional justice should be done with the victim in the centre of process. And active role. Not only because addressing the harm suffered by victims is immediate goal on transitional justice measures. But also because none on this can happen on the back of the victims or without their meaningful participation. So the adoption of the gender perspective is also the trans versa to all the mandates activities. Sensitivity to the different ways in which gross violations of human rights and serious violations of the international humanitarian law, differently affect men, women and children. And of course, (9:09) successful implementation of mandate.
Let me now speak a little bit on the historical context, and the context specific approach. The measures of truth-seeking, justice initiatives, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrences emerged first as the former person of the truth commission of Korea said, in his keynote speech, as practices and experiences in post-authoritarian settings, in the Latin American countries. Specific in my country, in Argentina. And then to other countries of the Latin American continent, and some Central and Eastern Europe and South Africa. But more recently, the transition of justice measures have been progressively transfer to the place of origins, that means post-authoritarian settings to post conflict settings. And even to settings in which conflict are ongoing. I have been three weeks ago in Syria, working on the situation in that country. And as you know, in Syria there is an armed conflict. And even more the mandate is going also to the situations in which there has been no transmission. For example, I’m receiving the mandate some petitions from different places and there is no transitions at all. So it’s more complicate now situation for the job of the mandate. For this reason, the mandate has insisted to the importance of taking into a (11:26) the specific content of each situation. Because we can’t apply the same structure to all different situations in the world. Because each situation has its (11:46) and it is different. It is crucial to clearly identify the preconditions in any given country and address them in a manner fine-tuned, targeted and sensitive to each countries.
The four components of the mandates; truth, justice, reparations and warranties of non-repetition, I think now we can speak on the fifth element of the mandate, that is memory. But the elements of mandate (12:29) inter-related areas of action. Taking individually there is measures cannot effectively readdress the harm down to the victims. And (12:47-52). The truth without justice is not possible. Justice without liberation is not possible. Bring it all together in hence, in a process of transitional justice. For this reason, I emphasise the importance of comprehensive approach, incorporating the full range of judicial and non-judicial measures including among others individual persecutions, reparations, truth-seeking, institutional reform, the vetting of public embrace on officials, memorisations, initiative of processes to achieve (13:49) combination. So it’s not (13:51) process of the transitional justice.
The measures should be conceived and implemented as part of integrated policy. Also the measures should not be traded of against one another. The authorities must resist attendancy (14:19) to expect victims to ignore like a factions in one (14:26) because there is action in other. A comprehensive approach can contribute to the children of two intermediate objects; recognition victims and confidence building. And to final objectives; reconciliation, and consolidation of rule of law.
As in the resolution (? 14:55) comprehensive approach can contribute to the accomplishment of the following goals. First one, preventing the recurrence of crises, and future violations of the human rights to ensure social cohesion, nation building, ownership and inclusiveness at the national and local levels and to promote reconciliation.
But this is not an option. It's a duty for the state. It’s an international obligation. It is important to note that disseminate of the mandate are based on stablish rights and obligation. We can speak and (15:54) of principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through actions to combat impunity, or the basic principles (16:05) right remedy, and variations for victims of gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law. And of course, we can pay attention to the international (16:24) covenant on civil and political facts. And the covenant is (16:33) for state parties. And of course South Korea ratified the covenant. And the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, so I want to pay attention to the issue that this is an obligation to the state. Another (17:01) to the willness of one government or other government. So let me pass to the theometic focus on govern frames. In the last two years since its creation, the mandate has examined in detail several domatic areas (17:28). How to contribute to the transitional justice measures to strengthening the rule of law (17:36). And the next set of (17:41) focuses on establishing the conceptional normative frame work of the (17:47) of mandate, (17:50) recommendation for the adoptions of public policies in the areas, the report reported on truth commissions, prosecutors, (18:00), reparations, security, sector reform, and warranties non-recurrence. So you have all that report in the website of the mandate.
Following this (18:17) the mandate focus on two interrelated issues. Ensuring (18:23) participation of victims in transitional justice processes, this is fundamental. And national consultations to design an implement transitional justice measures. More recently, the work of mandate has focused on prevention. What about the future of the mandate? The forthcoming (18:53) of (18:54) examination for the mandate were set out in the report I presented to the human rights council and the general assembly of United Nations last year. In general, my work will focus on the fight against impunity. Impunity is serious problem for transitional justice in all the world. National (19:27) experiences and practices regarding of the four elements of the mandate, future (19:33), warranties of non-recurrence, gender perspectives, transitional justice and non state (19:41), participation of victims, the question of (19:47), transitional justice and sustainable development goals, transitional justice and corruption. That will be the focus of my future report. And for the general (20:05) I will produce report on transitional justice, prevention and sustaining peace. The participation was (20:18) people in processes of a transitional justice (20:24) gender perspective in transitional justice efforts and the intersection of human rights with the focus on economics social and cultural rights and the sustainable development goals in the context of transitional justice. So before I finish, I would like to mention my two upcoming reports will focus on practical experiences of domestic reparation programmes and the second one on apologies for gross human rights violations and serious violation of humanitarian law. You will find on online (questionnaire? 21:11) that will be published shortly to gather (21:14) for this later report on apologies. And I’m gratefully to receive (21:21) abuse on this important matter. Not only on what has and has not been done so far but more importantly for me on what victims consider will be another great and meaningful apologies. Transitional justice is not an issue of the past. Transitional justice is present. Transitional justice is the future. If we don’t address the situations of the past in the right way, the past come and come again and again. This is the experience in Argentina, in my country. But this is the experience around the world. You can see Spain, for example. All people asking truth and justice. I have been in the parliament of Spain three months ago. Or Armenia still asking truth and justice. Or different countries in Latin America. So it’s impossible just to move without addressing seriously(23:10) the situations of the past. And peace is the result of justice. If not peace it’s not true (23:28). So with truth, justice, reparations and I mean full reparation for all victims, and warranties on non-recurrences, we will not have serious(23:57) democracy. The base of the rule of law is the promotion and protection of the human rights for all persons and especially to repair the damage for the victims of gross violations of human rights and a past. I thank you very much.