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Horsehair Wigs

English, Cultural, 1 season, 15 episodes, 8 hours, 11 minutes
About
In Horsehair Wigs, from Irish Rule of Law International, journalist Evelyn McClafferty speaks to guests about justice and human rights, and explores the drivers behind their work. The podcast is funded by Irish Aid. www.irishruleoflaw.ie
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Rhea Kneifati

We speak with Rhea Kneifati on this month’s show – a legal expert, specialising in sexual and gender-based investigations. She talks about the significant problem of the disappearance of women in Mexico, where there are currently 27,000 missing women. Rhea was deployed by Justice Rapid Response - an NGO with a roster of experts investigating international crimes and serious human rights violations – to work with a Mexican strategic human rights litigation organisation, Idheas to investigate the disappearance of women in the Mexican state of Guerrero. The state is one of the central points of violence by organised crime and human rights violations in the context of the so-called “war on drugs”. 712 women have disappeared and are missing in the state, to date, however in more than 60 years, not a single arrest warrant has been issued by the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Guerrero nor has a single sentence been handed down for the disappearance of a woman.   In 2022, the UN Committee on the elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) considered that the phenomenon of enforced disappearances taking place in Mexico was one of the most violent forms of gender-based violence committed against women, and that it amounts to discrimination against women. The first time it took such a stance, linking disappearances to gender-based violence (GBV) and to how state authorities tolerated, or even supported it. Rhea describes the move as significant and says it puts international pressure on the state of Mexico. Multiple state justice actors have been heavily criticised for failing to investigate cases of the disappearance of women in Mexico. The authorities in charge of investigations, particularly in Guerrero, have been accused of stigmatising women victims of disappearance when any of the lines of investigation identify members of organised crime as suspects. They’ve also been criticised for failing to conduct gender-responsive investigations, express gender stereotypes when communicating with relatives, and for blaming women for their own disappearance. This is said to be observed at all levels, including in legislative and judicial branches. Rhea says that crimes against women are not punished in Mexico and there’s a general climate of impunity. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors: Irish Aid. Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.
6/4/202423 minutes, 47 seconds
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Ray Murphy

On the show this month, we talk to Ray Murphy, a human rights lawyer and professor at the Irish Centre for Human Rights in Galway. Ray talks about the current situation in Gaza and the legality of the Israel-Hamas war. Ray says he believes the only way the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza will be truly tackled is through international law and the framework of international law. But he, too, stresses the importance of political will - an aspect of international law a previous guest, Kate Gibson has also talked about. Ray discusses the South Africa genocide legal challenge against Israel before the International Court of Justice and how he believes there is a good case for genocide because, he says, innocent civilians have been targeted. He describes the Israeli military’s response to the 2023 Hamas October 7th attacks as “totally disproportionate” and the consequences “quite horrific.” As the primary judicial organ of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice is, in Ray’s view, the most prestigious and authoritative international court, describing the court as “a very effective mechanism for adjudicating disputes or seeking clarification on legal issues.” He says its rulings are not binding, but carry political weight. Ray Murphy questions Germany’s staunch support of Israel, in light of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, asking, “What is it about Germany and its support for Israel that makes it somewhat blind towards the horrific, catastrophic, awful human situation that is currently being inflicted on the Palestinian civilian population of Gaza?” Ray also discusses the constitution of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide as a backdrop to the various legal explorations underway related to the war, and indeed to Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors: Irish Aid. Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.
4/29/202435 minutes, 10 seconds
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IRLI Team Malawi

We sit down with some of Irish Rule of Law International’s (IRLI) Malawi team this month to discuss how Malawi's poverty is affecting its justice institutions. IRLI’s programme in the country is strategically designed, in collaboration with its partners on the ground, to provide access to justice to people accused of crimes in Malawi. Malawi is a country with a prison population of seventeen thousand and only 700 lawyers. We hear from Susie Kiely IRLI’s Malawi Director, Macdara O Droisecoil IRLI’s Programme Lawyer seconded to the Legal Aid Bureau and Immaculate Maluza IRLI’s programme lawyer seconded to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. They talk about democracy in the resource-poor country, the overcapacity of Malawi’s prisons, prison conditions for inmates, the new Prisons Bill they’re trying to see enacted and the huge delays in bringing people to court. IRLI’s holistic approach to access to justice in Malawi enables its programme to target each component of the justice system and ensures the cooperation and coordination between key institutions. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors: Irish Aid. Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.
3/26/202423 minutes, 33 seconds
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Sarai Chisala-Templehoff

On Horsehair Wigs this month, we speak with Sarai Chisala-Templehoff, a human rights and social justice lawyer. Sarai is the Founder of the Gender and Justice Unit in Malawi – an organisation educating women on their legal rights, in a hugely patriarchal society. Much of the work that the Gender and Justice Unit does centers around women’s access to justice in the country – through working with partners, including Irish rule of Law International, providing support and responding to legal gaps. Sarai talks about the social and cultural landscape in Malawi, where many young girls are married very young, some before their 15th birthday, despite child marriage being illegal in the country. The NGO, Girls Not Brides, has said that Malawi has the 12th highest child marriage rate in the world. In 2020, this equated to 46% of girls married before turning 18. Sarai talks about child marriage being viewed as a means to improving economic status. She also talks about the non-rights of women being systematic, given that many young pregnant girls drop out of school early, and that's when the cycle of injustice starts, she says. In Malawi, 34% of women aged between 15 and 49 have reported experiencing physical violence, 14% sexual violence, and 23% emotional violence. During the course of the conversation, we discuss this with Sarai in the broader context of the discrimination that women and girls face in the country. Malawi ranks 9th globally in terms of aids prevalence. There are an estimated 1.1 million Malawians living with HIV and over 771,000 orphaned children, many due to AIDS. Sarai talks about her work in this field. How is climate change impacting the rights of women and girls in Malawi? Sarai believes that the Gender and Justice Unit will need to become better equipped in climate issues to continue to serve its community needs. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors: Irish Aid. Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.
2/26/202428 minutes, 42 seconds
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Doreen Chen

On the show this month, we’re talking to international human rights lawyer, Doreen Chen. She talks about the situation for human rights defenders globally and she also discusses her human rights centric input in the drawing up for various global authorities of counter-terrorism responses. Doreen is the co-founder of a non-profit, Destination Justice, which she also runs. The organisation advances human rights and the rule of law. It works primarily with human rights defenders – people who work peacefully to promote and protect human rights. Doreen links the killing and crackdown of human rights defenders globally with a worldwide decline in the rule of law. Most of the human rights defenders being killed are those working to protect the land, environment or indigenous people’ rights. Doreen discusses this in the context of Asia, where she has her focus, and she also discusses the precarious human rights conditions for people exercising their basic freedoms in Thailand. As a lawyer and litigator, she believes that the right to a fair-trial is a corner-stone to respecting the rule of law and democracy, and in that context works with various actors in centering human rights in counter-terrorism responses. She says there is a rich tapestry of different actors working to counter the threat of terrorism, especially since 9/11 and she works with various authorities globally. She says, “we need to be level-headed, especially in cases like terrorism, when the circumstances are triggering us to behave otherwise.” She says the underlying theme of the rule of law and democratic resilience is why she does this work. Doreen says her invitation to participate in these different policy spaces, as an international human rights lawyer, is evidence of the approaches that are being taken now, twenty years after the terrorist attacks against New York City and Washington D.C. while mentioning widely publicised shortcomings in prior processes adhering to human rights law, namely extensive detention, extraordinary rendition and torture of suspects. According to the latest statistics in the Global Terrorism Index, from ReliefWeb – a UN service - Afghanistan is the country most impacted by terrorism for the fourth consecutive year, but it’s the Sahel region in sub-Saharan Africa which is now the epicenter of terrorism. Doreen discusses the known drivers of terrorism, saying people who live within weak legal systems are at particular risk of terrorist activity. For Doreen, she believes human rights standards need to be lifted across the board to eliminate the potential for terrorists to exploit weaknesses. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors: Irish Aid. Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.
1/21/202425 minutes, 25 seconds
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Kate Gibson

On Horsehair Wigs this month, we’re in conversation with international criminal and human rights lawyer, Kate Gibson, who talks about the effectiveness of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in delivering justice. The ICC is made up of 123-member states, but many governments are not ICC parties, having not signed up to the Rome Statute, which governs it. These countries include the United States, China, Israel, Russia and India. Kate talks about the importance of all states signing up the court, cooperating and believing in it, in order for there to be more widespread enforceability of international criminal justice and accountability for grave crimes. In its 21-year history, the International Criminal Court has publicly indicted 52 people. With the exception of 5 Russians indicted during the current conflict in Ukraine, all other ICC indictees have been African or Arab. Kate believes it’s because international criminal justice is a very politicised environment and questions why some states are willing to subject themselves to the jurisdictional reach of the court and others aren’t. She says this is why international justice, “doesn’t yet have this universal reach” and “why we only see certain types of defendants in the dock”. Among others, Kate has represented former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic who is serving a life sentence after being convicted of genocide for the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces. And she’s also acted as co-counsel to the former Liberian President Charlies Taylor – who is serving a life sentence for his role in the conflict in Sierra Leone. Kate talks about her career of nearly 20 years representing those accused of serious international crimes and the impact the delivery life sentences have, and her view of the defence being crucial to the workings of justice. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors: Irish Aid. Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.
12/18/202330 minutes, 9 seconds
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Binta Mansaray

On the programme this month, we discuss the psychosocial impact of the civil war in Sierra Leone with human rights activist, Binta Mansaray. Binta, a Sierra Leonean, talks about the double victimisation of child soldiers, who are now adults, many homeless, and involved in criminality. She also talks about the legacy the conflict has had – a conflict which had been fuelled and funded by the country’s natural resources, diamonds. We hear about the absence within schools’ teachings of the history of the war. And Binta describes many adults in the country now, “not wanting to hear anything about the war because of what they have gone through.” What has become of the perpetrators of the violence and its survivors? We discuss this, within the narrow mandate the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) had, in holding those who bore “the greatest responsibility” and within a specific timeframe. Binta is Registrar of the SCSL, now in residual status. Prior to that, she worked as its Outreach Coordinator, having direct contact with the people and communities in the country. Much of her work surrounded liaising with women and children, and still, to this day, she is involved in the processes surrounding transitional justice. The SCSL was the first to rule on the use of child soldiers in conflict. Previous podcast guests, Shireen Fisher and Teresa Doherty have also contributed significantly to the court. Indeed, while a member of the court, it was Justice Doherty’s opinion that led to the recognition in international law of forced marriage as a crime against humanity. This episode contains some graphic details of killings and atrocities committed during the war, which have been described as “the worst we have seen anywhere in the world”. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors: Irish Aid. Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.
11/20/202330 minutes, 50 seconds
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Maud Sarliève

Our guest on Horsehair Wigs this month is Maud Sarliève, a Human Rights and International Criminal Lawyer advocating for creative legal thinking to mitigate climate change and protect the environment. Maud has travelled and worked internationally, on UN backed tribunals, for the United Nations office on Drugs and Crime and for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, among others. In this interview with Maud, we discuss what the proposed international crime of Ecocide is all about. And we talk to Maud about her current role advising the Office of the Prosecutor General in Ukraine on the investigation and prosecution of war crimes impacting the environment. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors: Irish Aid. Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.
10/5/202334 minutes, 36 seconds
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Gearoid O’ Cuinn

On our show this month, we speak to Gearoid O’ Cuinn, who teaches transnational human rights litigation at the Irish Centre for Human Rights in Galway, Ireland. Gearoid is also head of the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) – an organisation which pursues justice across borders for communities directly impacted by human rights abuses. Gearoid and his team have a very interesting portfolio of work, and are currently involved in a landmark climate case to be heard before the European Court for Human Rights in September. The case is being taken by young people from Portugal, who are suing European states over climate change. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors: Irish Aid. Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.
9/4/202329 minutes, 11 seconds
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Linda Kasonde

Delighted to have guest, Linda Kasonde with us on the show this month. Linda is a lawyer and civil rights activist from Zambia. In 2016, Linda became the first woman to hold the position of President of the Law Association of Zambia. She stood up to the then ruling government party, the Patriotic Front, at a time when many people didn’t. She now practices in Lusaka, having set up her own NGO – Chapter One Foundation and her own law firm, LCK Chambers. Protecting human rights and the rule of law are central to her work. Linda is widely known for speaking truth to power and in this interview talks to us about her experiences, including those of smear campaigns while at the helm of Zambia’s law association. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors: Irish Aid, principally, and solicitors working in the Republic of Ireland, who - when applying for the renewal of their practicing certificates – have made a voluntary contribution to IRLI. Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.
6/29/202335 minutes, 10 seconds
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Teresa Doherty

On this month’s show, international Judge Teresa Doherty, who became the first female judge in Northern Ireland and in the entire pacific region, talks to us about her life and work. She grew up a Catholic in Portstewart in Northern Ireland at a time of a very divided Northern Ireland. Catholics were hugely discriminated against, for example, in terms of employment, they were often much poorer and coupled with that, there was huge inequality in terms of women’s rights and men’s rights, especially in terms of education. Her background has significantly influenced her impact in the field of international criminal justice, going on to make landmark rulings related to forced marriage and sexual slavery, and she was a member of the Special Court for Sierra Leone - the first court to rule on the use of child soldiers and convicted a sitting Head of State. Prior to that, Justice Doherty also spent 22 years working in Papua New Guinea, where she worked heavily to highlight the rights of prisoners and women’s rights. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors: Irish Aid, principally, and solicitors working in the Republic of Ireland, who - when applying for the renewal of their practicing certificates – have made a voluntary contribution to IRLI.
5/31/202345 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Afghan Judge

Our guest this month is an Afghan judge, who was forced to flee her home country after the Taliban retook Afghanistan in 2021. She managed to escape Afghanistan with her family, following huge efforts by the International Association of Women Judges. In her early thirties and now in Ireland, when she lived in Afghanistan, she worked at the Violence Against Women Court – a court established during the country’s democratic rule. She talks about the legal cases she engaged with then, often including members of the Taliban. She also talks about the current situation in Afghanistan for women and girls. To protect her identity and to ensure the safety of her family in Afghanistan, we have not used her name. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors: Irish Aid, principally, and solicitors working in the Republic of Ireland, who - when applying for the renewal of their practicing certificates – have made a voluntary contribution to IRLI. Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.
4/27/202332 minutes, 2 seconds
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Eva Buzo

Australian barrister and the Executive Director of Victim Advocates International (VAI), Eva Buzo is our guest on this month’s show. Eva has worked extensively with the Rohingya community in the Cox’s Bazare district in Bangladesh, where one of the largest refugee camps in the world in located. She managed a large humanitarian response in 2017/2018, as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees began arriving into the camp. Her organisation, VAI advocates for and strongly supports victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. In this episode, Eva tells us about her work – having spent two years in Cox’s and the impact that the killing of Rohingya activist Mohib Ullah - who had become a friend of hers - had on her life. She also talks about how returning to the sea and sea swimming has helped her find a balance in dealing with a very “adult” job. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors, Irish Aid. Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.
3/29/202338 minutes, 4 seconds
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Shireen Fisher

International judge Shireen Fisher is the next guest on our new podcast. Justice Fisher has been heavily involved in a campaign by the International Association of Women Judges, of which she is a member, in helping female Afghan judges and their families leave Afghanistan after the Taliban came to power in 2021. She talks about the substantial campaign and her prior work with the Special Court for Sierra Leone, now in residual status, and her time as a judge on the War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors, Irish Aid. Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.
2/16/202336 minutes, 49 seconds
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Fergal Gaynor

On the first episode of our new monthly podcast, Horsehair Wigs, we meet Irish barrister and international judge, Fergal Gaynor at his home in The Hauge, where he talks about his life and work, and why he does what he does. Fergal has spent almost two decades working in international criminal justice and has brilliant insights into the workings of law and the intricacies of people. Presented and produced by Evelyn McClafferty. With thanks to our donors, Irish Aid. Note: The views and opinions expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent those of IRLI or Irish Aid.
1/16/202342 minutes, 10 seconds