Catherine O’Rourke and Elise Ketelaars
We are pleased to announce the publication of a new issue of the Ulster University Transitional Justice Institute Research Paper Series on the Social Sciences Research Network. This exciting new issue engages both with highly-topical contemporary questions, as well as long-standing challenges in international law, peace, human rights and gender equality. First off, Thomas Obel Hansen considers the Policy Paper of the ICC on preliminary examinations and its potential to advance ‘positive complementarity’ between the operation of the court and the domestic pursuit of justice for conflict victims. At a time of apparent crisis for the court, scholarship such as Hansen’s that addresses this critical relationship between its operation and broader domestic impacts is critical. Aisling Swaine, the leading global expert in National Action Plans (NAPs) for Women, Peace and Security, examines relevant practice to date in the Asia-Pacific region. She demonstrates an exciting new methodology for gender-responsive planning, which has relevance well beyond the specifics of Asia Pacific, namely the ‘Gender Needs Analysis Tool’. Likewise, the findings, conclusions and recommendations offer immediate policy relevance to the current 63 UN member states with NAPs on Women, Peace and Security, as well as those currently developing or reviewing NAPs.
Contributions by Catherine O’Rourke and the joint article by Anne Smith, Monica McWilliams and Priyamvada Yarnell both address the question of international human rights obligations and their current and potential impact on Northern Ireland. Catherine O’Rourke, in research from the DFID-funded Political Settlements Research Programme, considers the recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparations and Guarantees of Non-recurrence on his country visit to Northern Ireland. She identifies the potential for the report to positively re-shape both the diagnostic (defining the problem) and prognostic (identifying the solutions) framing of the vexed issue of how to deliver accountability for past conflict killings and harms in Northern Ireland. Finally, Anne Smith, Monica McWilliams and Priyamvada Yarnell engage with the highly topical challenges of protecting human rights in Northern Ireland as the UK advances its withdrawal from the European Union. In a timely and important contribution, the authors consider how the long-promised Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland might finally be advanced as part of broader efforts to ensure continued human rights protections in the midst of Brexit.
The issue is illustrative of the depth and breadth of research and impact activities at the Transitional Justice Institute. In scholarly terms, each of the contributions brings invaluable empirical and theoretical insights to contemporary reflections on international justice (however broadly conceived). Each of the outputs is closely aligned to contemporary challenges in international law and conflict, as well as making highly practical proposals for their amelioration. These research outputs directly inform the activities of major institutions involved in the promotion of international peace and justice, such as UN Women, the Department for International Development, the International Criminal Court and the UK government as it moves forward both with its withdrawal from the European Union and its efforts to consolidate peace and human rights in Northern Ireland. The issue stands to be of considerable interest to scholars and practitioners in international law, peace and conflict, human rights and gender equality.
This is first issue under the TJI SSRN journal’s new editorial team (and intlawgrrls!) Catherine O’Rourke and Elise Ketelaars. We would welcome any feedback on the substance and format of the issue.