Restoring justice for sexual violence victims in conflicts

Dr Roshan de Silva-Wijeyeratne, Professor Dianne Otto and Dr Olivera Simic.

Despite a rich history of people’s tribunals, forums organised outside of the Sovereign state, they’ve mostly flown under the radar in legal research.

People’s tribunals seek to address legal issues that have been neglected by mainstream proceedings. By focusing on survivor and witness testimonies, these forums provide an alternative to criminal trials that focus on punishment and individual responsibility.

Professor Dianne Otto from Melbourne University recently discussed how punishment based proceedings can curtail, in particular, the justice sought by sexual violence victims of conflicts at a Griffith Law School seminar.

“In the criminal context, the focus is on the defendant, the perpetrator, so many victims feel as thought they can’t really tell their story, they lose control of their story in the context of a criminal trial,” she said.

In this podcast we sat down with Dianne to discuss her experiences as a panel member on the 2012 Asia-Pacific Regional Women’s Hearing on Gender-Based violence in Conflict, held in Phnom Penh.

Dianne weighs up questions of shared responsibility, lessons learned and gives advice to law students who want pursue a career in International Human Rights.

Download audio (MP3 13mb)

Download transcript (PDF 50k)

Diane kicked off the 2014 season of research seminars hosted by the Griffith Law School and Socio-Legal Research Centre. For more information on upcoming seminars visit here.