Exploring the Integration of Bougainvillean Customary Law: A Journey towards Restorative Justice

In 2006, the International Commission of Jurists Australia  (ICJAS) was invited by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) to visit the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARoB) to determine the feasibility of assisting the ABG in developing a Bougainville Judicial System.

The ABG was especially interested in the exploration of how Bougainvillean customary law could be integrated within a judicial system that, at the same time, recognised international human rights standards. The ICJ(AS) undertook the mission from 19 August 2007. The six members of the team included five members of the ICJ Australia Bougainville Committee and one development project expert.

This scoping mission identified and gained a deeper understanding of numerous issues affecting the development of a Bougainville judicial system. It concluded thatthe ABG needed legal technical assistance to develop the legislative and administrative framework for a Bougainville judicial system, and it needed to involve the citizens and key stakeholders in designing a judicial system that reflected Bougainvillean restorative justice values.

Included in the photo are John Dowd AO KC, Elizabeth Evatt AC, Steve Mark AM and Tony Simpson.