Never Too Late: Reparative Justice in (Post-)Conflict Societies
Thilo Schöne | Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung | 2012
Reconciliation has never seriously been attempted in Lebanon. The question of the civil war has been avoided in public debate in the Cedar state. This guaranteed short-term peace and avoided further violence between the confessional groups. Yet, ignoring reconciliation and justice led to the absence of a long-term and sustainable peace. Even the absence of violence seems uncertain.
It is nearly impossible to distinguish victims from offenders during civil wars. According to the concept of reparative justice, everyone should be seen as a survivor. But instead of focussing on the survival of the Lebanese community, the underlying causes for the war such as political, social and confessional cleavages were ignored. Unfortunately, every confessional community went back to their pre-war position which is defined by the respective confession.
Reparative justice can address the assumed contradiction between justice, peace and reconciliation. Elements of reparative justice such as a national Truth and Re-conciliation Commission following the South-African model and local reconciliation groups could be an appropriate mechanism for this reconciliation and justice process after the civil war and the Hariri assassination. After all, Lebanon can be a regional role model and demonstrate how reconciliation, justice and peace can be united in the unstable Middle East.