n Conflict Trends - To punish or to reform? survivor justice in Africa

Volume 2016, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


In the post-World War II period, two broad conceptualisations of justice can be identified: survivor justice and victor's justice. This article focuses only on survivor justice as a model more suitable to African contexts, where conflicts are mostly internal and there are rarely decisive military victories between political adversaries. Survivor justice is a form of transitional justice that aims to transcend the binary of victim/perpetrator by combining impunity for all participants with political reform that transforms institutions of society. Survivor justice is based on a complete transformation of society emerging from mass violence. It redefines the victors and the vanquished as survivors after mass violence, allowing both to coexist in a reformed political community. It also reconciles the logic of rights and justice with reconciliation and peace in a context where there is no decisive winner. Survivor justice prioritises the living over the dead.

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