Excellences, ladies and gentlemen.
Let me start by thanking you for putting this important item on the agenda of this council.
Norway commends the AU for its holistic approach to peace and security, as exemplified by the master roadmap for silencing the guns by 2020. It is crucial to understand the underlying causes of violent conflict, causes that are often multiple and complex. The challenge is to not just relieve the symptoms, but to address the underlying causes. Norway therefore supports local, regional and international efforts to bring about lasting political solutions to conflicts.
A lasting and long-term peace goes beyond the immediate goal of ending a conflict and relies on justice and accountability to ensure sustainability. We need to fight impunity in order to bring lasting peace. Mass violence and human rights violations can, if left unaddressed, fuel future conflicts. Conversely, solid transitional justice mechanisms can prevent a recurrence of violence in the future. Peace and justice, rather than being exclusive, can be mutually reinforcing goals.
Transitional justice can take many forms: It can be judicial or non-judicial. It includes truth-seeking, traditional justice, cultural interventions and institutional reform. Transitional justice is often more effective with a combination of the mechanisms and processes. This enables a comprehensive approach that evolves over time.
Norway has been involved in mediation and peacemaking in a number of conflicts. I will highlight some lessons from two examples: In Colombia, Norway and Cuba facilitated the negotiation of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and FARC, ending the western hemisphere’s longest-running conflict in November last year. The agreement includes a comprehensive and innovative framework for Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition. Amnesties for international crimes was not accepted. Finding a balanced solution was essential in order to reach a final peace agreement.
In Juba, Norway’s ambassador to South Sudan chairs the working group evaluating the progress made on Transitional Justice, Accountability, Reconciliation and Healing, Chapter V of the peace agreement. Unfortunately, there has been very little progress. The establishment of the Hybrid Court and the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing is still in the initial phases. Norway gives full support to this work, and urges expediency. Norway also fully supports the IGAD-led Revitalization Forum, and hopes that it will reenergize the work on implementing the peace agreement.
Let me conclude by acknowledging that the question of impunity is often the most difficult part of any peace agreement or reconciliation process.
However, seeking justice is an investment in the future for any country.