The African Union (AU) has begun the popularization of its Transitional Justice Policy aimed at promoting reconciliation and lasting peace among different factions and groups during transitional periods in Africa.
Transitional justice is a set of processes or mechanisms designed to promote reconciliation, justice, healing, or democracy in transitions from war to peace or from authoritarian rule to democracy.
To popularize this idea, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Africa Transitional Justice Legacy Fund (ATJLF), with support from the MacArthur Foundation, held a two-day meeting on the 27th and 28th August 2019 in Accra to promote the effective implementation of the policy in the west African sub-region.
The Accra meeting is the first of a series of regional meetings to disseminate the African Union Transitional Justice Policy (AUJT) which was unanimously adopted at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of African Heads of State and Government on the 11th February 2019.
A similar exercise is intended to be held in each of the other four AU regions to ensure its actual implementation across the region.
The two-day workshop brought together key governmental and civil society representatives from all the 15 Member States in West Africa who converged at the Labadi Beach Hotel along the coast of Ghana’s capital city, Accra to learn more about the AUTJP with a view to ensure coherence on transitional justice interventions across Africa.
The policy provides clear guidelines to all the 55 Member States of African Union on how best to address violent conflicts and in the process, preserving the protection and promotion of human rights, guaranteeing accountability, sustainable peace, justice, reconciliation and national cohesion and social harmony.
Apart from the fact that the policy is homegrown and tailored in line with shared values as a people, it is premised on principles that constitute the basic minimum values and standards that informs action across all transitional justice processes.
Speaking at the event, the Head of the Africa Transitional Justice Legacy Fund (ATJLF), Makmid Kamara, indicated that, Africa does not need to adopt the western model of transitional justice and hence the policy has sought to promote Afrocentric approaches to transitional justice.
According to him, two approaches has been adopted to ensure the aspirations of the policy are achieved including the award of grants and partnerships.
“We shall be giving grants to Civil Society Organizations, survivor groups and victim centers and NGOs who want to complement the efforts of governments in ensuring that they promote justice and accountability that we implement and adopt transformational and reparation initiatives, and for those who can contribute to institutional strengthening and creating that enabling environment for societies to live in peace, development and democracy,” he indicated.
The Representative of the African Union Commission, H.E Ambassador Minata Samate Cessouma, in a speech read on his behalf, indicated that there was the need to advance the frontiers of the AUTJ policy because an adopted policy is a mere piece of paper which will amount to nothing if the provisions and the guidelines are not domesticated and implemented accordingly.
“There is the need to redirect our efforts towards three very important aspects of the AUTJP, namely; (a) the popularization of the policy, (b) its effective domestication and implementation and (c) close monitoring and evaluation of the results of its implementation in conflict prevention, management and resolution across the African continent,” he said.
The Representative of the ECOWAS Commission, Emmanuel Okurodudu, expressed the hope that some of the impediments which have been impeding justice and forgiveness during transitions would give way for lasting peace to prevail with the adoption and implementation of the policy.
He said, “The rationale is that the transitional justice activities will address the root causes of conflict and contribute to the creation of sustainable peace, accountability, social justice, and transformative democratic and socioeconomic reforms without losing track of those shared values of justice, non-impunity, reconciliation, human and peoples’ rights, as elaborated in various AU instruments.”
A Chief State Attorney from Ghana’s Attorney General’s Department, William Kpobi, who represented the government of Ghana at the meeting, underscored the need to handle with care, the obvious difficulties which often undermined peace processes during transitional periods.
“The issue that comes up is whether to break with the past and start anew or to embody the past in the present in an acceptable or reconciliatory manner. Abuses of the past cannot be wished away. It must be confronted and dealt with to bring peace and harmony. It is only by so doing that the way forward can be peaceful,” he said.
Source: Clement Akoloh||africanewsradio.com