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AGI Newsletter, August 2013

The August Issue of the AGI Newsletter is available through the link : http://www.iag-agi.org/IMG/pdf/AGI-Newsletter-N41.pdf

The topic of transitional justice plays an important role in the agenda of governance of the African Union in this year dedicated to ’Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance’. It covers the various processes and mechanisms implemented by a state to try to cope with massive abuses made in the past, in order to establish accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation. These processes can either be judicial or non-judicial, with (if any) the intervention of the international community, criminal measures against individuals, compensation, investigations to establish the truth, institutional reform, measures of treatment, or a combination of these measures. This single definition confirms the wide scope and complexity of transitional justice, which are illuminated and enriched in the light of experiences and challenges that are the theme of this conference.

In several countries of the world, whether the transition is from war to peace and from authoritarian or dictatorial regime to democracy, the concept of transitional justice has become a necessary step to move "to a divided past to a shared future" as defined by the international Centre for Transitional justice (ICTJ ). In recent appearance, the concept of transitional justice is generally implemented by non-judicial mechanisms, most often by a committee whose name incorporates, as appropriate, the notions of truth, reconciliation, equity and justice. This is especially the case of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions established in South Africa, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Panama, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Montenegro, Nigeria, East Timor, Ghana, Peru or more recently in Côte d’Ivoire. Established in 1995, the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission of South Africa is a world leader in this
field. Transitional justice can also be implemented by judicial mechanisms traditionally inspired, such as the gacaca courts in Rwanda. It relies heavily on forgiveness as a mean of achieving
national reconciliation, lasting peace, reconstruction and eventually
transition to democracy.

Transitional justice and national and international classical justice are compatible and complementary. There can be no lasting reconciliation or lasting peace without justice, if the ultimate aim is the rule of law.
Although there are many commonalities between the various experiences of transitional justice, no case resembles another. Each committee, each court must take in account the specific political, social, economic, security or other of the country concerned on the basis of precedents in the matter. So that transitional justice is being formed and can not yet be inserted into the corset of a normative approach . In other words, it does not present as a coherent set of binding rules. But transitional justice slowly but surely continues on its way.

The purpose of this issue of the newsletter is to help popularize the reflection on these issues of transitional justice, and simultaneously realize the progress made by African countries in this regard. You will find :

- Ruti G. Teitel, ‘’Transitional Justice Genealogy’’, Harvard Human Rights Journal / Vol. 16,
- Oxford Transitional Justice Research, ‘’Debating International Justice in Africa’’, OTJR Collected Essays,
- African Union Commission Consultation with African Union Member States on Transitional Justice, ‘’The role of the African Union in developing an African transitional justice policy framework’’ ,
Consultation Report, Cape Town, South Africa, 12–13 September 2011.
- Report of the AU Panel of The Wise, ’’The Search for Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation’’ ; « Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation in Africa : Opportunities and Challenges in the Fight Against Impunity »
- Report of the AU Panel of The Wise. ‘‘Africa’s Experiences in Transitional Justice’’, « Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation in Africa : Opportunities and Challenges in the Fight Against Impunity »
- Report of the AU Panel of The Wise. ‘‘The International Criminal Court and Africa’’, « Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation in Africa : Opportunities and Challenges in the Fight Against Impunity »
- Pablo de Greiff and Roger Duthie, ‘‘Transitional Justice and Development : Making Connections’’, International Center for Transitional Justice


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