AFRJ’s founder Prof. Don John Omale joined other international experts in a discussion on transitional justice policy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian ministry of justice in collaboration with the African Union convened the meeting which is anticipated to be crucial for Ethiopia’s policy options for transitional justice as well as the African Union’s transitional justice policy.
The two (2) day consultative meeting featured discussions and deliberations from international experts and stakeholders present at the meeting. Patience Zanelie Chiradza, Director of Governance and Conflict Prevention and the representative of the African Union Commission (AUC), stated that Ethiopia’s transitional justice policy would be a significant tool in addressing the problems Ethiopia has been facing. The director expressed appreciation for Ethiopia’s plan to establish transitional justice and urged all stakeholders to ensure that the process would be more inclusive so that it takes into account legal accountability, peacemaking, and compensation in resolving conflicts and disagreements.
Prof. Don John Omale made a case for the adoption of a ‘restorative’ transitional justice model, where accountability is not limited to criminal litigation only but is expanded to a more restorative approach involving reconciliation, reintegration restitution, and reparation. He added that relying entirely on criminal litigation can sometimes lead to victims being re-victimized and criminals eluding prosecution, particularly when the prosecution drags out and victims decide to withdraw their appearances as witnesses.
Alemante Agidew, the state minister of justice for Ethiopia, stated that transitional justice is crucial to achieving justice and bringing about reconciliation in conflicts and disagreements. The Minister also added that although the transitional justice policy shall be based on the needs and initiatives of Ethiopians, learning from the experiences and perspectives of international experts would help enhance perspectives that would aid the policy implementation process.