PhD Defense P. Wesche
Business-related Human Rights Violations and Access to Justice in Colombia
- Location: Cobbenhagen building, Aula
- Supervisor: Prof. N.M.C.P. Jägers
- Co-supervisor: Dr. D.H. Augenstein
In the field of business and human rights, it is widely recognized that conflict-affected countries involve increased risks of business-related human rights violations. Considering that these countries are often unable to adequately investigate, prosecute, sanction and redress such violations, the field focuses on alternative legal mechanisms of international and transnational nature to provide victims with access to justice. However, such mechanisms can only address a very limited number of cases. In comparison, domestic justice processes in countries emerging from armed conflict have received far less attention thus far. This article collection analyzes how post-conflict countries can improve access to justice, identifying obstacles and good practices, based on a case study of Colombia.
Applying a socio-legal approach that combines legal analysis with sociological research, the articles examine how Colombia has addressed business-related human rights violations linked to the armed conflict in different legal fields, including transitional and ordinary criminal justice, land restitution and constitutional law. To this end, the articles bring together the voices of more than one hundred experts, including victims, human rights defenders and justice administrators.
The collection’s main conclusion is that protective legal frameworks are a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for access to justice. To truly provide victims with effective access, transition countries must address the many practical obstacles to justice characterizing post-conflict settings. This includes to enhance the capacity of communities to defend their rights, to strengthen their trust in the administration of justice and to increase the presence and capabilities of the justice sector in rural areas. These measures need to be integrated into a more holistic peace-building agenda that also addresses organized crime networks involving private and public actors. In this context, transitional justice regimes can play an important role.