The Southern Africa Youth Forum (SAYoF) SADC participated making key contributions at the 3rd Continental Transitional Justice Forum that was held from 24-26 September, 2019 at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa – Ethiopia. The Continental Transitional Justice Forum is held annually following the inaugural forum held in 2017, as a platform for interacting and taking stock of the state of Transitional Justice (TJ) in Africa to identify and discuss the various issues that require further in-depth study for filling the gaps in existing knowledge. The Forum is also a space to explore new opportunities to build collaboration across different sectors to guide and strengthen transitional justice policy and interventions.
The 3rd Continental Transitional Justice Forum was held following the adoption of the African Union Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP) by the Heads of State and Government during their 32nd Ordinary Session in February 2019. The African Union Transitional Justice Policy has challenged mainstream transitional justice characterized around four key elements; Prosecutions of those responsible for violations, Truth Commissions that clarify the causes and consequences of past abuses, material and symbolic reparations for victims, and Institutional reforms to guarantee non-recurrence of conflict; which falls short in addressing African experiences. The African Union Transitional Justice Policy also provides a framework and a model for Africa’s conceptualization of Transitional Justice which is not limited to formal processes but also prioritizes informal processes and traditional justice approaches, ethno-cultural nuances to justice, socio-economic and developmental dimensions of peace and justice. In this regard, the policy also offers an opportunity for reflections on Africa’s past and ongoing transitional justice processes to inform current and future transitional justice interventions. The 3rd Continental Transitional Justice Forum was held to get the reflections on the state of transitional justice in Africa and in facilitating sensitization and popularization of the African Union Transitional Justice Policy following its adoption earlier in February this year, The African Union Transitional Justice Policy acknowledges that children and the Youth are the mostly affected under instances of conflicts and also that transitional processes, including peace and justice processes, must consider the disproportionate impact of violence on children and youth and make meaningful provision for children as victims, irrespective of
their roles, in accordance with the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children.