Editorial 1999 (2)
In this edition of Law Democracy and Development the focus is on transitional justice specifically in the African context. Transitional justice is a key area of focus and specialisation at the Law Faculty of the University of the Western Cape because as the twenty-first century begins, transitions from repressive...
A right to truth, justice and a remedy for African victims of serious violations of international humanitarian law
Avril McDonald deals with the possible right of victims to truth, justice and remedies in situations where violations of international humanitarian law constitute crimes under international law. She examines international law on genocide, crimes against humanity and the law on war crimes as well as customary international law.
Living in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: A retroactive reflection
Former Truth and Reconciliation Commission research director Charles Villa-Vicencio sees reactions to the work of the commission as falling into three categories: those who rejected the mandate of the commission, those who enthusiastically embraced it. and the majority who are ambivalent.
He explores the role of the commission in...
Painful peace: Amnesty under the Lome Peace Agreement in Sierra Leone
Abdul Tejan-Cole deals with the controversial amnesty provisions of the Lome Peace Agreement in Sierra Leone. While the agreement calls for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it grants blanket amnesty to all combatants and collaborators against a background of appalling atrocities against civilians, including mass murder.
Preconditions and processes for establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Rwanda: The possible interim role of Gacaca community courts
Jeremy Sarkin suggests a possible model for a truth and reconciliation enquiry in Rwanda which was presented to that country's government in 1998. Given the enormous difficulties of prosecuting the estimated 125 000 alleged perpetrators of genocide in Rwanda, he proposes as an interim measure that use be made...
Reparations policy in South Africa for the victims of apartheid
Lovell Fernandez discusses the reparations policy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. In terms of the founding Act, the commission merely has the power to make recommendations on reparations while Parliament is to decide on it.
The commission recommended five forms of reparations: urgent interim reparation, ...
Respecting revenge: The road to reconciliation
Based on research among victims of human rights violations in South Africa under apartheid, Gabriel O'Malley argues that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's work is flawed by the lack of recognition for the desire of many victims for revenge. The commission aimed to achieve restorative rather than retributive justice; ...
Transitional justice and the prosecution model: The experience of Ethiopia
Jeremy Sarkin describes how Ethiopia has chosen to prosecute perpetrators of past human rights violations rather than to use the truth commission route. However, high ranking figures in former regimes have fled to countries where they are immune from prosecution or extradition.
Faced with a choice between Ethiopian law...