“Daily work in Burundian and Rwandan ‘Aidland’: Seeking Reconciliation and Justice through Training and Sensitisation”

Astrid Jamar//International Development//19th of February//1-2 pm//Arts C133


Astrid Jamar has been researching transitional justice in Rwanda and Burundi since 2006. From 2008 to 2011, she gained field experience working with several international NGOs and local institutions implementing transitional justice processes in these two countries. Reflection upon these experiences in academic and policy-oriented research formed the basis of her doctoral research. Through her PhD dissertation, “Transitional Justice Battlefield in Aidland – Practitioners’ Daily Work in Burundi and Rwanda”, she aims to describe the institutionalisation of transitional justice and aid practices, effects of professionalisation and to highlight silenced colonial and conflict legacies in these daily realities.

Abstract: “Whereas Burundian and Rwandan Transitional Justice processes appear to be very different at first sight, daily practice and daily implementations share many similarities. It has been stated the Burundian process is in a deadlock situation and the Gacaca Courts ruled on more than two millions trials for genocide crimes in Rwanda. The presentation will demonstrate that service providers and deliverables are similar both countries. UN agencies and international NGOs got funding to organise training, sensitisation, lobbying, support to civil society, surveys, legal aid, psychosocial supports, research and monitoring. All these activities are implemented and disseminated through frequent meetings, workshops, study trips and media campaigns. These efforts to train, sensitise and consult the population on TJ concepts have been undertaken in both countries despite different results.

At the exception of lobbying, these interventions can be considered as apolitical as not engaging with the deep sensitivity of addressed matters. Within these complex contexts, bureaucratic and technocratic tasks become an appropriate tool to leave complexity un-tackled. Anecdotes and descriptions of projects will address the following questions: Who has access to these programmes? What are intellectual and material benefits out of it? Who are trainers and what did they train/sensitise on? What is the long term view? What are they supposed to do with the “new knowledge”? This will underline the institutionalised patterns of activities, limits of interventions towards TJ, and the lack of evidence to link interventions with assumed results.”

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