It is “hour zero” to talk about justice in Nicaragua

This is an article about a  new initiative of young people around transitional justice designed to ensure the the voices of victims are heard in the National Dialogue process. 

It is “hour zero” to talk about justice in Nicaragua

by Franklin Villavicencio, March 16, 2019

in Niú.com.ni

[Original article in Spanish: https://niu.com.ni/llego-la-hora-cero-para-hablar-de-justicia-en-nicaragua/]

A group of youth are starting a campaign to reflect on the lack of justice in the recent history of the country.

A group of young Nicaraguans in exile decided to undertake a communications project where they will address the issue of transitional justice in the current social and political scenario of Nicaragua. The objective of this group of youth that make up Hour Zero, a nascent informational platform, is to bring up the importance of “clarifying the truth” about the crimes occurred in the last months of civic protests, where governmental repression was imposed and has left 325 dead, nearly 800 political prisoners and more than 40,000 exiled.

“It is important to talk about transitional justice in Nicaragua because, in its last century, the country has experienced war after war, amnesty laws and pacts between leaders”, mentions Ludwing Moncada, project collaborator. The team of Hour Zero wants to address this topic through a series of videos, infographs and interviews with relatives of the victims of the repression. In fact, in one of their next editions they will publish an interview with professor Álvaro Gómez, the father of a 23 year old young man who was murdered by paramilitaries in Monimbó.

“We do not want to just inform, but put on the table the relevance of the issue so that the people who are making decisions might hear the victims and can take them into account in the negotiations, we do not want the historical mistakes of the past to be repeated”, added the presenter of the series.

But this “other truth” that has been documented in the social networks, verified by different human rights organizations, and denied by the Government of Daniel Ortega, is what the team of Hour Zero wants to bring up, currently composed of nine graduates from different university majors, who were forced into exile because of the repression.

“It has been a pretty difficult process, because we are not jurists. We are a group of young people who form an interdisciplinary team, as such, the issue of transitional justice is very dense and we are trying to present it in the best way and adapt it for daily society, which is not precisely immersed in the social sciences, “ he added.

On March 4th Hour Zero launched the first video of the campaign, where they reflect on the lack of justice in the recent history of Nicaragua, and pose the “uncomfortable questions” that define the line of the content. The campaign will last three months and has coincided with the start of the negotiations between the regime and the Civic Alliance, whose headlines have stated that one of the focuses of their roadmap is the topic of justice.

“We have to demand and present everything that transitional justice means, as such it is our duty to not just question, but present the need that the victims are on the front page of this negotiation process. In other words, the reparation of the victims and the right to truth should be ensured”, stated Ludwing.

In the last decades this mechanism has been carried out in different scenarios to clarify the facts of crimes against humanity. The International Tribunal of Nuremberg is one of the most iconic cases in the world. It was established for the purpose of judging the crimes committed by the Nazis in the Second World War. Also in Chile and Argentina processes have been established of justice and reparation for the victims of dictatorships and military regimes.

A platform for debate

Hour Zero is a project that was conceived in the end of 2017, but became a reality in July 2018, in the midst of the protests that demanded the end to the repression and the departure of Ortega and Murillo. Currently they have engaged in addressing issues in depth through their YouTube channel and their social networks.

“If we have been able to do something it is because there have been people who have provided us spaces to record, or lent us certain equipment, but we do not have enough resources. We worked on the force of our will,” explained their producers.

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