This report was written against the backdrop of the need to better understand the dynamics of impunity and the factors that contribute to solving cases of journalist murders on the domestic level. Although cases of full justice are scarce, they demonstrate that justice can be achieved. This begs the question how such achievements can be brought about more often. In spite of the urgency of this question, a systemic understanding of the dynamics of impunity has been lacking so far. Solving these murders is a complex challenge that is influenced by many factors, including the case specific complexities, the societal and political context and the functioning of the different layers of the justice system. Laying out the avenues to justice therefore requires an understanding of local complexities and of the recurring patterns in the cases that lead to justice. It is the ambition of this report to identify these avenues.
This report uses a multi-layered approach to arrive at the identification of avenues to justice. Importantly, in order to guarantee the pertinence of these avenues, we start with an assessment of the factors that contribute to the risks for journalist being murdered, and of the factors that increase the risks of impunity to follow. In order to fight impunity with concrete tools, we hold, it is imperative to understand its foundations. The CPJ database on journalist killings, investigations into cold cases of journalist murders by A Safer World for the Truth, and conversations with colleague experts in the field constitute our main sources of data to make this assessment.
Authors: Evelien Wijkstra and Jos Midas Bartman