Historical injustices and transitional justice interventions in Kenya: victims’ and interveners’ experiences and perceptions

by Muema Wambua

25 May 2021
Journal of the British Academy
Digital Object Identifier
Number of pages
28 (pp. 75-102)

Abstract: This article examines historical injustices and transitional justice interventions that were initiated after the 2007 electoral conflict in the quest for conflict transformation in Kenya. During the mediation led by Kofi Annan that culminated in the signing of the National Accord in February 2008, transitional justice was emphasised as critical in attaining conflict transformation. In response, the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) and International Criminal Court (ICC) interventions initiated a complementary restorative–retributive approach in the pursuit of transitional justice in the country. Based on content analysis of fieldwork data extracted from twenty-five focus group discussions within a sampled cluster of ten counties, this study examines and presents the experiences and perceptions of victims of historical injustices, on the one hand, and the experiences and perceptions of interveners of conflict transformation programmes, on the other hand. This is with a view to explicating the outcomes and impacts of transitional justice interventions in conflict transformation in Kenya in the post-National Accord era. In the findings, a key argument is raised that unresolved three-tier historical injustices remain critical constraints in the pursuit of transitional justice and in the quest for effective conflict transformation in Kenya.

Keywords: Conflict, conflict transformation, historical injustices, ICC (International Criminal Court), interventions, Kenya, transitional justice, TJRC (Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission).

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 9, supplementary issue 2 (Transitional Justice Discourse in Post-Conflict Societies in Africa).

Sign up to our email newsletters