Gender and Transitional Justice in Africa: Progress and Prospects

Citation:

Scanlon, Helen, and Kelli Muddell. 2009. “Gender and Transitional Justice in Africa: Progress and Prospects.” African Journal on Conflict Resolution 9 (2): 9-28.

Authors: Helen Scanlon , Kelli Muddell

Abstract:

During the past few decades, different models of transitional justice (TJ) have developed throughout Africa to try to address the mass human rights abuses that have occurred during conflicts. These mechanisms, both judicial and nonjudicial, have often failed to adequately tackle the extensive gender-based violence that has been prevalent on the continent. This article examines the ways truth commissions, legal mechanisms, reparations, security sector reform efforts, and traditional mechanisms in Africa have dealt with gender-based human rights violations. While recent African TJ mechanisms have been innovative in developing means to address crimes against women, these mechanisms continue to fail victims. This is in large part because the current discourse on gender and transitional justice needs to be broadened to better address women’s experiences of conflict. Future TJ initiatives need to re-examine the types of violations prioritised, and recognise the continuum of violence that exists in pre-conflict and post-conflict societies. It is also important to challenge the transitional justice field to stop reducing sexual-based violence to ‘women’s problems’, and explore how men are affected by the gendered dynamics of conflict.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Reparations, Transitional Justice, TRCs, Post-Conflict, Rights, Human Rights, Security Sector Reform, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa

Year: 2009

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