Experts Consultation with AUC Policy Makers on Transitional Justice in Africa

Africa Governance Initiative During the second day of the experts consultation on transitional justice in Africa, two (2) sessions took place:

* Possible guidelines towards the development of a policy framework on transitional justice in Africa.

* Road map and the way forward.

The participants noted that the draft policy on transitional justice should identify the responsibilities of each AU organ. Participants further noted that it was important to map the architecture of the different organs of the African Union in order to map the possible over-lapping areas noting the need for the harmonization of the work of the organs in order to ovoid potential duplication and inconsistency. The need to mobilize local resources was equally emphasized.

Participants also noted that there were useful lessons and best practices that could be identified from various African Union Member States that had gone through or were still going through transitional justice processes.

These included the important and critical role by the African Union and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in mediation, peaceful negotiation of political transition and monitoring and evaluation of agreed transitional justice processes that should be reflected in an African transitional justice policy framework.

The following issues were suggested as possible guidelines:

1. The need to foster complementarity between national justice mechanisms and international justice system.

2. Emphasise the importance of economic and social justice, and gender justice.

3. The need for the AU and regional mechanisms to draw on the existing mutually reinforcing measures on justice and accountability.

4. The need for a consultative process that includes civil society and citizens to inculcate a sense of ownership and identify individual and community needs as well as national imperatives.

In their deliberations, participants of the meeting noted the need to develop a “Transitional Justice tool-kit” which consists of:

a. Summary documents: Summary of the various transitional justice processes that have been undertaken on the continent, in a simple handbook.

b. Comprehensive documents: Compendium of the AU instruments that underpin transitional justice in Africa.

The report for the consultation meeting was adopted by the participants.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Mamadou Dia acknowledged that the consultation achieved its objectives by arriving at a clear and more coherent understanding of transitional justice in Africa by AU policy makers and the role of the AU. It also identified a set of guidelines and principles to pave the way for developing a policy framework on transitional justice in Africa.

Another expert consultation with policy makers from AU member states emerging from conflict will take place from 11-13 September 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa.

This consultation will ensure that deliberations and proposals from the AU organs on possible guidelines towards the development of policy framework on transitional justice is rooted and anchored on the needs and specific contexts of member states.

Further information

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