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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Dibattito Aperto su “Transitional Justice: a building block towards sustaining peace”

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Stefano Stefanile, Vice Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Dibattito Aperto in Consiglio di Sicurezza su “Transitional Justice: a building block towards sustaining peace” —

Mr. President,

We welcome this debate and thank the Belgian Presidency for organizing it and all the briefers for their insightful interventions.

Italy aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union.

Italy strongly believes in transitional justice as an effective means to address the after-effect of violent and divisive conflicts and to achieve sustainable peace and social harmony. As exemplified particularly by the Colombian peace process, the transformational drive required for inclusive and long-lasting peace stems primarily from a peace agreement that contemplates transitional justice as an inherent part of a comprehensive and interdependent architecture. In this framework, accountability for gross human rights violations and for serious crimes under international law are key elements for the foundation of a just and peaceful society.

International tribunals, including the International Criminal Court and fact-finding and investigative international mechanisms are fundamental tools in the fight against impunity. Italy has been a staunch supporter of the development of international criminal justice, as a building block accompanying societies towards truth and reconciliation. We have regularly provided funding to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the IIIM for Syria. We have also supported, through political, technical and financial means, the work of hybrid criminal courts in East Timor, Kosovo and Sierra Leone.

In these and other contexts, we have strongly promoted the strengthening of law enforcement, the building of technical capacity for vetting processes and for the implementation of justice reforms, and the reinforcement of the independence, efficiency, accountability and transparency of judicial systems.

We believe that the success of Transitional Justice mechanisms also depends on the implementation of Security Sector Reform and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration processes. We support, therefore, stronger UN Standing Capacities on SSR, DDR, Justice and Correction and Police – which are all hosted in the United Nations Global Service Center in Brindisi – as effective tools to foster complementarity between Transitional Justice and these processes.

Striking a balance between victims’ right to justice and the need for reconciliation and peaceful coexistence is a very delicate exercise. The search for historic truth on violence and abuses and the public acknowledgement of responsibilities of each party are often a precondition for reconciliation and peaceful coexistence. In this light, truth and reconciliation Commissions could serve the interest of truth without replacing criminal prosecution and should spread their findings in the society for the education of present and future generations.

The 2030 Agenda, notably SDG 16, is clear in affirming its wide scope: it highlights the correlation between access to justice for all, effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels and the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies.

Based on our experience, we would like to highlight three main points:

First, each transitional process should be nationally owned and inclusive. It should contemplate a careful consultation with civil society, including vulnerable individuals and groups, to assess the impact of conflict, meet the widespread expectation for justice and shape a common vision of the future. Women’s participation is crucial to guaranteeing such inclusivity. Through the participation of women in reconciliation and mediation efforts, we can have more effective transitional justice processes. The Women Mediators Networks, like the Mediterranean Women Network we actively promoted, have indeed bolstered a gender sensitive approach to transitional justice.

Second, profound institutional reforms are often needed to affirm the rule of law, enhance human rights protection, and reorganize the State in keeping with democratic values. However, constitutional transition and legal reforms cannot be effective without the spreading of a culture of lawfulness among civil servants, citizens and local communities.

Finally, the importance of civil justice is often underestimated. It plays a crucial role in the daily lives of families, enterprises and individuals. In the aftermath of a conflict, efficient and independent civil courts should be able to grant redress for the damages suffered and to reestablish economic, social and cultural rights that are often greatly violated.

I thank you.