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African Journal on Conflict Resolution

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Memorialisation as an often neglected aspect in the consolidation of transitional justice: Case study of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Shirambere Philippe Tunamsifu

Abstract


For more than five decades after the Independence Day (1960–2018), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has continued to witness largescale violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law. Trying to deal with past abuses, the country twice experienced a process of transitional justice, in 1992 and in 2004, as the result of the Conférence Nationale Souveraine and the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, respectively. Both of these processes failed to achieve the desired result, and neither adopted any memorialisation process that honours the  memory of victims. In October 2013, however, delegates to the Concertation Nationale recommended the government to build monuments in memory of victims of the different armed conf licts. Unfortunately, five years later the government has not yet done anything to implement that recommendation. Based on the interrogation of stakeholders, this paper offers strategies on how to honour the memory of victims of the various armed conf licts in the DRC – in order to consolidate the degree of transitional justice that had been attained.

To collect data, 32 key informants were interviewed and two focus group discussions were held in areas affected by armed conf licts. Findings included the recommendation that the State should apologise publicly for its failure to protect the civilian population. Thereafter, a commemorative day should be adopted to bring together victims and alleged perpetrators, and official monuments and memorials should be built in the most affected areas. Uncostly monuments, and aptly named schools, hospitals and public markets in memory of abuses should be built as symbolic collective reparation.

Keywords: commemoration of memories, concertation nationale, DRC, guarantee of non-repetition, healing process, symbolic reparation, tourism attraction, transitional justice




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