Transitional justice discourse in post-conflict societies in Africa: introduction

by Elias O. Opongo

25 May 2021
Journal of the British Academy
Digital Object Identifier
Number of pages
7 (pp. 1-7)

Abstract: Post-conflict reconstruction has emerged as one the major issues of concern in Africa in the last three decades. Since the end of the Cold War following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, many African countries embraced multiparty systems that expanded democratic spaces. With this came the claim to justice and consciousness on the need to reconstruct a new vision of the nation, a vision that is based on social cohesion. This led to calls for democratisation in a number of African countries as well as in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and, in particular, former Soviet Union countries. In Africa, the approach taken by different countries varied from elaborate transitional justice processes that involved truth commissions to national dialogue processes that called for political compromise without putting into place any formal transitional justice process.

The articles in this supplementary issue on transitional justice discourse in post-conflict societies in Africa draw attention to diverse contextual issues on post-conflict reconstruction in the continent. These articles bring together divergent discourses, experiences, theorisations, and interpretations of transitional processes while calling for a new way of assessing truth-telling processes within the purview of legal frameworks, gender and cultural sensitivities, peace sustainability, and conflict resolution strategies in Africa. The articles open up debate on the extent to which transitional justice processes contribute to peace and sustainability in Africa, and what could be done to improve this important post-conflict reconstruction initiative.

Keywords: Post-conflict reconstruction, transitional justice, peacebuilding, truth telling, truth commissions.

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

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