Cartooning for Justice Workshop

Cartoons have the power to communicate to all, instigate change and inspire hope. Liberia has been plagued by 14 years of civil war, notoriously known for its brutality and use of child soldiers. To date, no war criminal has faced justice in the country. As trials of alleged Liberian war criminals take place abroad, civil society movements in favour of justice demand the establishment of a war crimes court. 

"Cartooning for Justice" combines the art of cartooning and academic research. It is a collaboration between the Liberian Visual Arts Academy, Civitas Maxima, the Global Justice and Research Project, and students of the Graduate Institute of Geneva who were awarded the Kathryn W. Davis Peace Foundation grant. The Swiss-Congolese cartoonist, JP Kalonji also contributed to the project. 

This project tackles the question: Should war-time crimes be punished in Liberia today? 

 

There has never been a project like this before here in Liberia. It is so important that Liberians take ownership of this project. What we are doing is good for the kids. 

Leslie Lumeh
Executive Director of Liberian Visual Arts Academy

Cartooning for Justice Workshop

Spanning four full days, 30 art students learned classic storytelling techniques and cartooning skills while also discussing whether or not war-time crimes should be punished in Liberia today. Through group discussions, we freely encouraged them to debate existing justice measures while also reflecting upon their own conceptions of justice and need for accountability for war-time crimes in Liberia. These focused discussions centered around theoretical foundations and justification for punishment, including theories of consequentialism, retributivism, and restorative justice. Additionally, the students discussed how these theories might be applied within the context of post-conflict Liberia.

The lessons, drawing exercises, and discussions all contributed to the larger goal of having the students engage in debates on justice and accountability in Liberia for its 14 years of civil war (1989-2003). The students worked towards producing a final cartoon answering the question: “Should war-time crimes be punished in Liberia today?”

I think cartoons can help the situation of justice in Liberia by moving fear [from victim to perpetrator]

Workshop Student

In the Press

Essential to the overall goal of the project, we ensured some of the final cartoons produced by the students of the workshop were featured in a leading West African newspaper.

I think I can contribute to the debates on justice and accountability in Liberia by telling my stories and communicating other people’s stories.

Workshop Student

Cartooning for Justice Partners

The Cartooning for Justice Workshop is the product of collaboration between:

And others, such as Caran D'Ache and Stabilo are supporting our project.

*These drawings and photos were produced at a pre-workshop exercise.