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AFRICAN TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE AND SOCIAL DIALOGUE: IN SEARCH OF MODEL

Open Panel

Abstract

In recent times, some African scholars have bandied the idea of an African Transitional Justice model. This dialogue takes into consideration African traditional post conflict mechanisms of dispute resolution. Some of these mechanisms have been used in post conflict situations in a number of African countries including, Sierra Leone, Liberia, northern Uganda and Mozambique. The question that arises, therefore, is whether there is or can be an African model of transitional justice. If the answer to these questions is yes, further obvious questions arise. These include what should be the role of prosecution in the process, the operational level and regulation of African transitional justice, what procedural norms does it inculcate and how do they benefit post conflict societies. This paper seeks to theorise to identify a model in relation to African transitional justice. In so doing, it seeks to do so by first, highlighting the nature of the process an identifying common factors that unify various substantive African transitional justice mechanisms. Second, it seeks to identify its procedural norms. Proceeding from the introduction, the second section will introduce substantive African methods of transitional justice. In so doing, it recognises the various levels of operation and legal regulation. The third part describes the nature of these dispute resolution mechanisms. It describes both the key principles found in the process. While recognising that the African society is complex and varied, there are certain commonalities in the African make-up and dispute resolution systems that find commonality among its societies. The fourth part identifies the procedural process and seeks to identify procedural norms. It is recognised that the process follows a vertical path of societal inclusion. The paper investigates whether this procedure is suited to the political realities of present day conflicts. The Fifth part attempts to lace out a theory in relation to the organisational and procedural mechanisms employed by African transitional justice mechanisms. It is concluded that both the key principles and procedural processes are based on the theory or model of social dialogue.