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24 Windsor Y.B. Access Just. 201 (2006)
People's Tribunals: Legitimate or Rough Justice

handle is hein.journals/windyrbaj24 and id is 211 raw text is: PEOPLES' TRIBUNALS: LEGITIMATE OR ROUGH JUSTICE
Christine Chinkin*
The article examines the use of Peoples' Tribunals in seeking
access to justice where none has been possible through more for-
mal methods. It uses as illustration the Women's International
War Crimes Tribunal that sought justicefor the so-called com-
fort women, the primarily Asian women who were subjected to
sexual slavery by the Japanese military before and during World
War Two. The article briefly recounts the fate of the comfort
women and then considers the legal and practical obstacles they
faced in accessing justice at the end of the War. It outlines how
towards the end of the 20th century the survivors broke their
silence about these events and unsuccessfully sought justice
through national and international mechanisms. The Women's
Tribunal was created out of the failure to receive appropriate
redress. From this particular example the article discusses more
generally the concept of Peoples' Tribunals in delivering justice
(especially gender justice) and assesses whether such institutions
of civil society have any legitimate and effective role in providing
justice where none has been given by the state.
Cet article examine l'utilisation de Tribunaux populaires
pour rechercher l'accs k  la justice lorsque cela n'a pas iti possible
par des mithodes plus formeles. f1 utilise comme illustration le
Tribunal international des femmes pour les crimes de guerre
qui visait la justice pour les soi-disant femmes de confort, les
femmes surtout asiatiques qui ont iti assujetties h l'esclavage sex-
uel par les militaires japonais avant et pendant la Deuxikme
grande guerre. L'article relate brivement le sort des femmes de
confortpuis considre les obstacles le'gaux etpratiques qu'elles ont
dfi envisager pour acceder h la justice h la fin de la guerre. II
decrit comment, vers la fin du vingtikme sicle, les survivantes
ont brisi le silence au sujet de ces ivinements et ont recherchi en
vain la justice par le biais de micanismes nationaux et interna-
tionaux. Le Tribunal des femmes a tJ crii suite a linsuccs a
obtenir des reparations appropriies. A partir de cet exemple par-
ticulier, l'article discute defacon plus gn/rale la notion de Tri-
bunaux populaires pour rendre justice (surtout la justice en
rapport avec le sexe) et examine la question 4t savoir si de telles
institutions de la socit! civile ont un role ligitime et efficace hz
jouer pour fairejustice oi lPitat ne lapasfaite.
Professor of International Law, London School of Economics and Political Science; Overseas Affil-
iated Faculty, University of Michigan Law School.

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