Scrutiny of the main transitional justice laboratory: Africa
Astrid Jamar (The Open University )
Kerstin Carlson (University of Southern Denmark)
50 George Square, G.06
Thursday 13 June, 16:15-17:45, 17:55-19:25

Short abstract:

The African continent has been the favorite laboratory for the transitional justice field being exposed to most of its efforts over the last decades. This panel invites papers discussing specific case studies in terms of their continuation and/or disruption with the global field of TJ.

Long abstract:

Over the past two decades, the African continent has been the favourite laboratory for the field of transitional justice. Indeed, African states and societies have been exposed to numerous forms of experiments in the name of transitional justice with various degrees of international pressure and involvements. This panel invites papers discussing TJ experiences in terms of their continuation and/or disruption with the global field of TJ from empirical and theoretical perspectives, and preferably (but not necessarily) adopting a post-colonial lens. Among the possible examples, the ICTR made way for novel hybrid ad hoc institutions (Sierra Leone, Senegal/Chad, CAR) and "mobile courts" (DRC, Uganda). Modernized traditional truth-telling and reconciliatory mechanisms (such as Rwandan Gacaca Courts; South Africa's TRC), or the African Union's proposed human rights and international criminal law court, have captured international attention and impacted transitional justice practices outside of Africa. And history's most ambitious international experiment in outlawing state-sponsored violence, the International Criminal Court, has built its practice almost entirely within/upon Africa. The question becomes how institutionalism interfaces with, building up and transforming, colonial and authoritarian influences? The aim of the panel is to debate the relevance of African experiences for the development of transitional justice as a global field, promoted, and often funded, by international organizations such as the UN, the ICTJ, or the European Union. How have these various experiences have shaped the field normatively, conceptually, empirically and/or theoretically? How selected the case study follows or disrupts global practice of TJ?