Africa’s engagement with the issues pertaining to transitional justice (TJ) has a long
history. TJ as we know it today became a core tenet of processes to deal with the
consequences of conflict and authoritarian rule in the 1990s. Since then, scores of
African States have made use of or are making use of TJ mechanisms in various
forms in order to come to terms with the past and build a shared future of inclusive
democratic and developmental systems of governance. Furthermore, given that a
number of States are still actively experiencing conflict or acts of repression, the
need for processes to achieve sustainable peace remains ever pertinent.
While the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) engaged
the issue of TJ in Africa and made some useful pronouncements, there has been a
lack of comprehensive guidance on how the African Charter best informs and
shapes TJ processes to ensure adherence to the rights guaranteed in the Charter.
The Study on Transitional Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights in Africa is the
first concrete step taken by the ACHPR to elaborate a Charter-based approach to
TJ and elucidate the role of the Commission in TJ processes and mechanisms on the
continent. The study draws on TJ literature, the various experiences of TJ as peculiar
to the African continent, as well as the unique tools and mechanisms at the disposal
of the ACHPR, to develop a comprehensive and coordinated African Charter-based
approach for engaging with TJ within its mandate of promoting and protecting
human and peoples’ rights. I hope that the implementation of the recommendations
of the study, including the designation of a special mechanism, will go a long way in
enabling the ACHPR to have effective and systematic engagement with TJ processes.
I also urge other stakeholders to make use of this study and to cooperate with the
ACHPR in its implementation.
The adoption of this study during the 24th Extra-Ordinary Session of the ACHPR in
August 2018 was the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication by a
large group of people. I would like to commend the Commission for achieving this
milestone and to thank my colleagues for their invaluable inputs. In particular, I wish
to acknowledge with appreciation the unwavering support of the Centre for the
Study of Violence and Reconciliation, which served as the secretariat for this study,
for their key role from the inception to the final publication of this study. My
appreciation must also go to the members of the Advisory Panel, the legal officers
at the ACHPR Secretariat, Abiola Idowu-Ojo and Elsabé Boshoff, everyone who