Territory as a Victim of Armed Conflict
15 Int'l J. Transitional Just. 210 (2021)
21 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2021
Date Written: September 30, 2021
Colombia’s peace jurisdiction has formally accredited the territories of indigenous and Black communities as victims of the armed conflict. But what does it mean for a territory to be treated not as the stage on which a conflict unfolds, but as its victim? The concept of territory-as-victim seeks to give a legal expression to the notion that it is not just human lives that are upended by armed conflict, but also relations with non-humans, including ‘earth beings’ such as rivers and mountains, and the spiritual world. Further, it is a tool through which indigenous peoples and Black Colombians gain greater control over their land. Transitional justice scholars and practitioners are just beginning to consider what the push to recognize non-humans in law could mean for a field that has its origins in the human rights movement. This article contributes to the debate, showing how Colombia’s peace process is transforming territory from an object to a legal subject that suffers harm and is in need of repair.
Keywords: Afro-Colombian, Colombian peace, indigenous peoples, Jurisdiccio ́n Especial para la Paz, rights of nature, territory, transitional justice
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