Publication date:22 April 2015
Length of book:120 pages
African Truth Commissions and Transitional Justice examines the functioning of truth commissions in Africa, outlining the lessons learned, the best practices, and the successes and failures of seven African truth commissions. Its introduction and conclusion then work further to place truth commissions within the growing academic field of transitional justice. The first African truth commission was convened by the despot Idi Amin for reasons unrelated to the defense of human rights, but despite this ambiguous beginning, other African truth commissions have done important work. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission of 1996 has become the ‘gold standard’ for future truth commissions not only in Africa, but throughout the world: it unearthed much truth about the Apartheid era abuse of human rights and took vital first steps towards restorative justice in the Republic. Each truth commission is distinctive. However, although much has been written about South Africa’s truth commissions, much less is known about the other six studied in this book—and an attentive reader will notice the suggestive patterns which emerge.
John Perry and T. Debey Sayndee have written a comprehensive analysis of the evolution and dynamics of transitional justice, in particular, the use of truth commissions as instruments of fact-finding and reconciliation of bitterly divided communities in the aftermath of political conflicts and monstrous dictatorships in different parts of the world. This book presents well-researched and highly informative case studies using the truth commissions that have been established in selected African countries—Liberia, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Chad, and Morocco. This book is a must read for all students and practitioners of transitional justice, post-conflict reconstruction, and peacebuilding in Africa and other regions of the world.