5 June 2020 | Comment | Article by Alan Collins
People’s Tribunals are independent, peaceful, grassroots movements, created by members of civil society, to address impunity that is associated with ongoing or past atrocities. As such, they offer society an alternative history and create a space for healing and reconciliation to take place that may otherwise be stifled by political agendas and legal technicalities. Since the 1960’s, People’s Tribunals have grown and developed to address many kinds of situations, from genocide to environmental degradation.
In this episode of the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast Alan and Reg Paulose discuss the concept of the People’s Tribunal and question their effectiveness.
In the context of that question they discuss:
- Can they be seen as legitimate responses to injustice?
- How do they work?
- What do they achieve that conventional legal models do not?
- So are they effective?
- How do we measure effectiveness, what does it look like?
Reference is made to the UKCSAPT – the People’s Tribunal established in the UK to examine child sexual abuse (see website HJ).
These issues are discussed in the recently published book: People’s Tribunals Human Rights and the Law: Searching for Justice (published by Routledge, and edited by Reg. Alan wrote the chapter on “People’s Tribunals and how they examine child sexual abuse).
This book presents a balance of academic and practitioner perspectives on People’s Tribunals. It explores key questions relating to their formation and roles and discusses what they can offer to victims and survivors. The volume provides an introduction to the subject, theoretically informed discussion reflecting different perspectives, and a range of contributions focusing on different types of People’s Tribunals and various aspects of their operation. The authors analyse the advantages and disadvantages of these movements in a variety of contexts. The impact and contribution they have in the international criminal law and international human rights context is also discussed.