Photo: Peace Dove Made of Kalashnikov Barrels
Most transitional justice programs are like most justice programs, two-sided. They search out victims and offenders and try to establish a degree of accountability between them.
IMTD, along with partners Mediators Beyond Borders and Sovereignty First, look at a broader picture, including victims, offenders, bystanders, and saviors. These are the common roles produced by any act of trauma, whether in a school shooting or a civil war. In a prolonged conflict most people will have played at least some, and maybe all of these roles at some point.
Often, overnight conflict roles become caricatures. Over years and then generations the roles become hardened divisions within societies and tend to replicate more violence.
Through a process of storytelling and response, focusing on the noted acts of brutality, IMTD and its partners can help generate a braided truth, elements of which are agreed upon by all participants. The better story will reflect the nuanced ethic of the complexity of the conflict. The braided story humanizes both the “monsters” and the survivors. It engages the innocent. It honors the best efforts of true heroes without deifying them.
The braided story provides for accountability but allows for prosecution if necessary.