Traditional Justice and Reconciliation after Violent Conflict: Learning from African Experiences

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Language: English
Pages: 204
ISBN: 978-91-85724-28-4
Binding: Paperback
Editors: Luc Huyse, Mark Salter Contributors: Luc Huyse, Bert Ingelaere, Victor Igreja, Beatrice Dias-Lambranca, James Ojera Latigo, Joe A.D. Alie, Assumpta Naniwe-Kaburahe
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In some circumstances traditional mechanisms can complement conventional judicial systems and provide the potential for promoting justice, reconciliation and a culture of democracy. This book is both a general knowledge resource and a practitioner’s guide. It is aimed at both national bodies seeking to employ traditional justice mechanisms, as well as external agencies supporting such processes. Each case study and the conclusions have clear recommendations for how traditional justice mechanisms can be implemented.

Traditional Justice and Reconciliation after Violent Conflict: Learning from African Experiences is based on the findings of a comparative study examining the role played by traditional justice mechanisms in dealing with the legacy of violent conflict in Africa. It focuses on five countries – Burundi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Uganda – that are used as the basis for outlining conclusions and options for future policy development in the related areas of post-conflict reconstruction, democracy building and development. The report cautions against unrealistic expectations of traditional structures and offers a sober, evidence-based assessment of both the strengths and the weaknesses of traditional conflict management mechanisms within the broader framework of post-conflict social reconstruction efforts.

It is a very original idea from IDEA to dig deep through the African roots to find right there ways of solving major problems arising in Africa. With this approach, justice will no longer appear as a foreign organ badly transplanted to a rejecting body. Rather, it will appear as the product of Africa’s own genius.

Adama Dieng Assistant Secretary-General/Registrar International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)


This book provides a highly original contribution to the already existing publications on transitional justice. The role of indigenous practices has long been disregarded, while they obviously seem to play a crucial role in the everyday lives of many civilians. The five case studies give an overview of traditional justice mechanisms across the African continent. This overview is so detailed and so well contextualized, that it is evidence of in-depth research endeavours. The variety of country studies and traditional processes is then brought together and reflected upon in order to draw general conclusions useful for national and international agencies working on conflict resolution. Hence, since the book provides an impressive combination of local knowledge and international applicability, it is definitely fit for a wide and diversified audience – academics, professionals and laymen. The clear language and the attractive lay-out only add to its appeal.”

Annelies Verdoolaege, Department of African Languages and Cultures, Ghent University, Afrika Focus, Volume 21, Nr 2, 2008

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