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  African Journal of Legal Studies   (Netherlands)
  Volume 1, Number 1, 2004
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        Chernor Jalloh, Executive Editor
  • Violence, Amnesty and Transitional Law: "Private" Acts and "Public" Truths in South Africa Rosemary Nagy
        p.1-28                                                                                    +cite    
        Whereas amnesty is generally associated with impunity and denial, in South Africa, amnesty was pulled into the reach of justice and reconciliation. This article assesses the extent to which South Africa's amnesty fulfilled these normative goals. It centers on the difficulty of differentiating between "private" acts and "political" crimes deserving of amnesty. It argues that the determination of political crimes obfuscated the full extent of apartheid violence and responsibility for it. Consequently, the amnesty process produced a truncated "truth" about apartheid violence that was insufficient to the task of overcoming the past. This is in part an intractable problem embedded in the conflicting tasks of transitional law. The lesson of hope that South Africa offers to other transitional nations is that amnesty should be wound into the promises of democracy without creating false expectations of reconciliation or simplistic truths about the past.
  • Reconciliation in Post-Genocide Rwanda
        Eugenia Zorbas
        p.29-52                                                                                  +cite        
        National reconciliation is a vague and 'messy' process. In post-genocide Rwanda, it presents special difficulties that stem from the particular nature of the Rwandan crisis and the popular participation that characterized the Rwandan atrocities. This article outlines the main approaches being used in Rwanda to achieve reconciliation, highlighting some of the major obstacles faced by these institutions. It then goes on to argue that certain 'Silences' are being imposed on the reconciliation process, including the failure to prosecute alleged RPA crimes, the lack of debate on, and the instrumentalization of, Rwanda's 'histories', the collective stigmatization of all Hutu as g√©nocidaires, and the papering over of societal cleavages through the 'outlawing' of 'divisionism'. The role economic development can play in the reconciliation process is also discussed. Given the Government of Rwanda's central role in the reconciliation process and its progressive drift towards authoritarianism, the article ends with a reflection on the worrisome parallels between the pre and post-genocide socio-political contexts.