Six new research projects on security and rule of law

24 July 2014

WOTRO has recently awarded six research proposals that were submitted to the Security & Rule of Law Applied Research Fund. The projects are centred around the theme Embedding Justice in Power and Politics. They all aim to contribute to innovations for people-centred and context sensitive rule of law reform programmes in fragile and conflict-affected settings.

The proposals are the first that are awarded within the research programme Security & Rule of Law in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings. This programme is an activity of WOTRO, in close collaboration with the Security & Rule of Law Knowledge Platform.

The six research projects will be executed by consortia of research institutes and organisations involved in policymaking for, or implementation of security and rule of law reform programmes in the targeted countries. The projects will start within the next few months and have a maximum duration of 2 years.

Awarded projects 

A short summary of each project is given below. Clicking on the project title will lead you to the full abstract as recorded in the NWO project database. 

Enhancing justice through land governance reform in the Democratic Republic Congo and South Sudan

Consortium led by Dr Mathijs van Leeuwen, Radboud University, Centre for International Conflict - Analysis & Management (CICAM) (NL). The other consortium members are: The Hague Academy for Local Governance (NL), Norwegian People’s Aid, United Nations Human Settlements Program (DRC) and Wageningen UR (NL).

In DR Congo's eastern Kivu provinces and South Sudan's Greater Equatoria region, people perceive land governance as a major source of injustice. Neither the emerging state system nor customary arrangements adequately address people’s concerns. This research explores how civilians can be more effectively engaged in the reform of land governance and aims to inform policy options that help to improve relations between state institutions and citizens.

Supporting pathways for primary justice in South Sudan and Afghanistan

Consortium led by Prof. Jan Michiel Otto, Leiden University, Leiden Law School (NL). The other consortium members are: Centre for Peace and Development of Juba University (South Sudan), Cordaid (NL) and Justice and Peace Commissions Way and Yambio (South Sudan).

Afghanistan and South Sudan are the sites for this comparative study on primary justice arrangements. The action research explores both people's conceptions of justice (e.g. concerning property conflicts) and the responses provided, in particular to women, through community-, state-, religion- or militia-based justice mechanisms and practices. Findings will be used in development programmes aimed at strengthening pathways for primary justice in fragile contexts.

A barometer for transitional justice in Tunisia

Consortium led by Prof. Paul Gready, University of York, Centre for Applied Human Rights (UK). The other consortium members are: Al Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center (Tunisia) and Impunity Watch (NL).

Transitional justice mechanisms that address the aspirations of the Tunisian people are needed to pave the way for national reconciliation and safeguard human security. This research aims at a longitudinal understanding of the impact of transitional justice on different stakeholders in society and builds research capacity among academic researchers as well as communities affected by violence in order to support their participation in the unfolding transitional justice process. 


Intersections of conflict and justice in South Sudan

Consortium led by Dr Rens Willems, UPEACE Centre The Hague (NL). The other consortium members are: PAX (NL) and South Sudan Law Society.

To deal with South Sudan’s past and current conflicts, and to increase the chances of a stable future for the world’s youngest nation, transitional justice and justice reform are vital. This research investigates how both formal and informal justice systems can contribute to truth and reconciliation. The team will develop an analytical instrument to identify opportunities for reform that help to align justice services with the needs of the Southern Sudanese people.


Accommodation of justice for displaced in DRC

Consortium led by Dr Koen Vlassenroot, Ghent University, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences (Belgium). The other consortium members are: Cordaid (NL), ISDR (DRC) and SSRC (DRC).

Displaced people in the Democratic Republic of Congo who have fled violent conflict in their home areas face major difficulties in accessing justice. This research investigates their justice needs, their strategies to obtain justice and their experiences with formal and traditional legal authorities. The findings will be applied in ongoing initiatives to strengthen the weak justice system in three regions of the DRC (the Kivus, Haut Uele and Equateur).  


Access to justice for Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Consortium led by Dr Karim el Mufti, International Center for Human Sciences (Lebanon). The other consortium members are: International Alert (Lebanon) and Lebanese American University (Lebanon).

The conflict in Syria has resulted in one million Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon. They receive little protection from the Lebanese authorities. Public figures are increasingly hostile towards their presence and the refugees fall victim to false accusations, deportation and torture. This research explores the access that Syrian refugees have to the formal justice system in Lebanon and/or to informal mechanisms set up by local communities.


Source: NWO