Ending impunity and promoting justice and reconciliation reflect core objectives underpinning the African Union. Amid renewed debate about justice and peace on the African continent, this report investigates the issue of impunity and its relationship with peace, justice, reconciliation, and healing.
Contributing to efforts by African and international actors to address these issues, the International Peace Institute and the African Union commissioned a paper from Dr. Comfort Ero, then Director of the South Africa Office of the International Center for Transitional Justice, and Dr. Gilbert Khadiagala, Professor of International Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. IPI and the AU then convened an expert workshop in Monrovia, Liberia, in May 2009 to consider the consultants’ report, make recommendations for improving it, and propose recommendations for the AU Panel of the Wise.
This report is the outcome of this research, analysis, and deliberation. Originally entitled “Non-Impunity, Truth, Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation in Africa: Opportunities and Constraints,” it was adopted by the Panel of the Wise at its tenth meeting in May 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The report, which is the second in IPI’s African Union Series, offers two overarching recommendations:
1. The AU Panel of the Wise should adopt an advocacy role to promote and reinforce guiding principles.
2. The AU should develop a Transitional Justice Policy Framework and strengthen instruments for justice and reconciliation on the continent.
As a supplement to this second recommendation, the report includes a Draft Transitional Justice Policy Framework for adoption by the African Union, which is now using this framework to develop a clear and more coherent understanding of the contemporary application of transitional justice in Africa.