Online Restorative Justice in post-conflict scenarios

Pablo Romero

Pablo Romero·– 04/17/2024 8:15am

The Final Report of the Truth Commission sheds light on the significant volume of exiled individuals affected by the Colombian conflict, referred to as "Colombia outside of Colombia". With over 2,080 testimonies collected, it's evident that exile ranks as the second victimization after forced displacement. However, despite its prevalence, exiled victims often face challenges in accessing justice and participating in restorative processes, thus opening the possibility for online tools to gain presence in this field.

One key aspect highlighted by Commissioner Carlos Martín Beristain is the need for the Colombian state to recognize exile as a human rights violation. Currently, exiled victims often struggle to have their status acknowledged, hindering their ability to seek legal protection and access justice mechanisms abroad.

Moreover, the report emphasizes the importance of creating new registration instruments to accurately measure the scope of exile and ensure victims' rights are upheld. This includes providing information to other countries to prevent the dismissal of protection requests based on the misconception that the peace agreement resolved all conflict-related issues.

In light of these findings, it becomes imperative to consider innovative approaches to facilitate restorative justice for exiled victims. One such solution lies in leveraging online platforms to conduct restorative processes.

Digital restorative processes offer several advantages for exiled victims. Firstly, they overcome geographical barriers, allowing victims to participate from anywhere in the world. This is crucial for individuals who have been displaced to various countries and face challenges in physically attending traditional restorative justice sessions.

Secondly, online platforms provide a secure and confidential environment for victims to share their experiences and engage in dialogue with offenders and relevant stakeholders. This is particularly important for exiled victims, who may fear retribution or retaliation if their involvement in restorative processes is publicly known.

Furthermore, online restorative processes can be tailored to accommodate the unique needs and circumstances of exiled victims. This includes providing interpretation services, ensuring cultural sensitivity, and addressing specific concerns related to safety and security.

By embracing online restorative processes, Colombia has an opportunity to enhance victim participation and ensure their voices are heard in the pursuit of justice and reconciliation. It's essential for the government to collaborate with international organizations and utilize technological advancements to create inclusive and accessible pathways for exiled victims to engage in restorative justice efforts.

In conclusion, while the challenges faced by exiled victims of the Colombian conflict are daunting, the adoption of online restorative processes presents a promising avenue for overcoming these obstacles and promoting healing, accountability, and reconciliation for all parties involved.