Seeking the Truth in Mali
When Mali created a truth commission to address decades of conflict, it soon required specialized expertise. JRR deployed transitional justice expert Hernando Caceres to assist the Commission with its strategy for collecting statements from victims of conflict. Working together, the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission of Mali now has the tools it needs to bring together victims and gather truth, with a method that is uniquely their own. The Commission is just a start for country to face its past; but it is a unique chance for Malians to take charge of their own history, and, with time, perhaps their future, too.
Go behind the scenes of truth-seeking in Mali in our longform article “As the Red Dust Settles”
“Collective memory helps overcome the challenges that individual memory has. It helps re-create events in a more precise way than individual memory.”
– Hernando Caceres, transitional justice expert, member of the JRR Expert Roster
“We are thankful to JRR for sending Hernando to us. We have learned many things, and it has helped us so much. And because of what we have learned, our office can now offer training to others.”
– Djènèba Diop Mariko, head of Bamako Regional Office of Mali’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (CVJR)
“In Mali, justice has never has been done, and neither has truth. That’s why conflicts are coming back. I personally survived this conflict…so I know what it is to be a victim. Bad things have been done, but they have never been acknowledged. And we cannot do justice to things we don’t know. The Swiss cooperation has helped us so much through JRR and Hernando, showing us the essential strategy of investigations: investigator profiles, different techniques of consultation. Thanks to Hernando, we now have a way to begin this strategy.”
– Commissioner Mohamed El Moctar Ag Mohamedoun, Sub-commission on Truth Seeking, CVJR
“When the CVJR called me, I went and told my story. We spoke for those who were not there, and for those who had been killed. It freed people. The CVJR is the thing that the people have placed their trust in: it will set us free.”
– Aboucarine Haidara, survivor of 2014 Kidal attacks in Mali
Our Work to Assist National Jurisdictions
JRR’s Complementarity Programme provides, flexible and cost-effective assistance to States wishing to hold perpetrators accountable or address past crimes through transitional justice processes, but needing the support of professional expertise from the international community to do so. JRR’s approach empowers national actors to design and implement credible, thorough investigations. Tailored mentoring received by national authorities builds confidence and increases the odds for justice to be done for crimes of the past. In 2017, JRR continued to support State-led investigations and accountability processes, including the Ministerio Publico in Guatemala through a project under UNDP’s PAJUST framework programme. It also responded to a request from local authorities in Central African Republic (CAR) in view of supporting them on a specific case involving the 2014 massacre of civilians, including women and children.