Mali’s crisis of 2012-2013, in which two-thirds of the country was occupied by Tuareg rebels and Islamic extremists, was accompanied by brutal rule in the North and a near-collapse of the state. Many victims have yet to see redress for the abuses they suffered; justice remains elusive.
Close to what was then the frontline, the city Mopti is the pivotal point between the North and the South. As such, it is a fitting venue for efforts to sew Mali back together, rebuild its civil society and promote the rule of law.
With this in mind and benefiting from IDLO support, Mopti Radio Kounari has begun hosting a series of Causeries/Débats (Conversations and Debates). The first two-hour edition focused on access to justice: it featured the participation of national partners Association Malienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH), Association pour le Progrès et la Défense des Droits des Femmes (APDF), a Juge d’instruction [investigating magistrate] from Mopti’s Tribunal de Grande Instance, and a Psychologist.
The participants debated issues such as legal knowledge, legal advice and representation, access to a justice institution, and fair procedure. Also discussed was the relationship between formal and informal justice: the latter is where most Malians go, whether by necessity or choice, to have their legal problems solved.
The Causeries/Débats target both duty-bearers and rights-holders. The program’s philosophy is that it is equally important for individuals and communities to be aware of their rights and duties, as it is for government officials to be conscious of their responsibilities.