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Unpacking the post-Mugabe transition

Publish date: 04 December 2017
Issue Number: 754
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Zimbabwe

When the first reports appeared of military tanks approaching Harare, analyst Mia Swart wondered whether it would be a ‘model’ transition – from dictatorship to democracy? In a column on the News24 site, she notes that there are fears that the country wouldn’t go through a genuine transition, that one dictator might simply replace another as was the case in Egypt. ‘Transitional justice is a term coined by the scholar Ruti Teitel in 1990. She defined it as a form of justice that could address the legacy of human rights violations and violence during a society’s transition from an authoritarian regime to a democratic one. Transitional justice refers to the ways in which countries emerging from periods of conflict and repression address large scale human rights violations so numerous and serious that the normal justice system is unable to provide an adequate response.’ Swart points out that transitional justice has become a vital part of modern peace building efforts alongside disarmament, security sector reform and elections. ‘The UN views it as the full range of processes associated with a society’s attempt to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses with a view to ensuring accountability, serving justice and achieving reconciliation.’

Full analysis on the News24 site