Indigenous legal tradition as a supplement to African transitional justice initiatives

  • D Mekonnen

Abstract

This article interrogates the role of indigenous legal tradition (ILT) in contemporary African transitional justice initiatives. It departs from the assumption that most African cultures put emphasis on communality and the
interdependence of the members of a community. Indigenous legal traditions, which include mechanisms for acknowledgement, truth telling, accountability, healing and reparations, continue to assume a prominent role in the lives of African societies and individuals. However, little attention has been given to the role of African indigenous legal tradition in terms of its contribution to postconflict transformation. Several African societies have deeply rooted social and communal values of conflict resolution which can serve as a reservoir of wisdom in future transitional justice initiatives. In furtherance of the main theme, the article discusses an example of ILT from Eritrea, and calls for a continued engagement and critical assessment of these values in promoting peace and justice in Africa.
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eISSN: 1562-6997