The University of Birmingham’s African Transitional Justice Comparative Study fills a critical gap in research on comparative transitional justice as there have been no systematic comparative studies of a larger sample of African countries’ experiences of transitional justice. 

The study presents a comparative analysis of 12 country case studies in Africa, where transitional justice mechanisms have been implemented. Mapping the range of processes in this field, the study will pay particular attention to transitional justice mechanisms employed between 1990 and 2011 to deepen understanding of how these processes were developed, and the role of their respective contributions to the prevention or recurrence of war and repression.

Sustainable peace

Specifically, the study is to examine the factors that shaped state policy decisions in framing the diverse set of responses to dealing with legacies of dictatorship, civil war and mass human rights abuses, and assess the consequences of these decisions for achieving sustainable peace and preventing future human rights abuses.

Through synthesising qualitative and quantitative approaches to transitional justice, the study will provide a basis for understanding national, regional and international dynamics that shape these processes – including cultural similarities, regional influences (such as AU and bilateral relations) and geo-political issues (responses and resistance to colonial and ‘Western’ neo-colonial legal norms).

Critical debates

The study will result in reports and presentations containing practical recommendations directed at key policy makers, including those in the African Union, South African Department of International Relations and Co-operation, donors involved in transitional justice funding, civil society, media and academia. It is expected that the study will contribute to the critical debates in African transitional justice and advance policies and measures for its robust implementation.