Accra hosts maiden meeting on disseminating AU Transitional Justice Policy

Accra� The Africa Transitional Justice Legacy Fund (ATJLF) in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) with support from MacArthur Foundation has organised the maiden conference on disseminating African Union Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP) in Accra.

The Transitional Justice Policy, which was recently adopted by the Heads of State and Government at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union in February this year, was developed with a view to, inter alia, strengthen the capacity of Member States, African Union (AU) Organs and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to respond timeously and effectively to the adverse effects of violent conflict.

The two-day Regional Consultation and Capacity Building Conference on the Implementation of the AU Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP) is the first of a series of RECs meetings to disseminate the AUTJP with the aim of promoting its effective implementation in the region.

Madam Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Political Affairs, AU Commission, in a speech read on her behalf, commended ECOWAS for taking the lead in embracing the AUTJP and commencing development of its own Strategy on the Policy; adding that this practice is a true demonstration of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) being the building blocks of the AU.

She reiterated the importance of the AUTJP in realizing the lofty ambitions of the AU Agenda 2063 � The Africa We Want.

Madam Cessouma extended her gratitude to the Board Members, the management and staff of the ATJLF for being a genuine and committed partners of the AU.

She also thanked the Management and staff of the MacArthur Foundation for the unflinching support for the AUTJP programme.

It is my firm belief that partnerships like this are key towards the realization of the goals and objectives of the AUTJP by the Department of Political Affairs of the AU, she said.

Now that the AUTJP has been adopted, there is a need to redirect our efforts toward three very important aspects of the AUTJP, namely; the popularization of the policy, its effective domestication and implementation and close monitoring and evaluation of the results of its implementation in conflict prevention, management and resolution across the African continent.

She said an adopted policy was a mere piece of paper if the provisions and the guidelines are not domesticated and implemented accordingly.

Mr William Kpobi, Chief State Attorney at the Attorney General’s Department, urged AU Member States to chart the path of reconciliation in order to pave the way for peaceful governance.

The principle to achieve peace within the context of the AU in transitional periods in the various Member States is a daunting task, Mr Kpobi said.

Obviously in such transitional periods, the issue that comes up is whether to break with the past and start anew or to embody the past in the new in an acceptable or reconciliatory manner, he said.

Abuses of the past cannot be wished away. It must be confronted and dealt with to bring peace and harmony. It is only by so doing that the way forward can be peaceful.

Transitional matters if well-handled, obviously leads to a smooth implementation of governance. On the other hand, transitional periods if not well handled obviously leads to anarchy along the line, Mr Kpobi stated.

He said it was to forestall such anarchies in ECOWAS sub-region and within the AU as a whole that this important workshop was being organised.

Mr Makmid Kamara, Director, ATJLF, said participants at the workshop would learn about the AUTJP with the view to ensure coherence on transitional justice interventions across Africa.

Furthermore participants to the workshop would map out effective implementation strategies for the AUTJP and provide states with a framework that would eventually contribute to peacebuilding, democracy building, constructive management of diversity and post-conflict reconstruction and development.

Mr Emmanuel Okurodudu of ECOWAS said ECOWAS was trying to come with its own transitional justice policy, which would be based on the AU’s model (AUTJP).

Source: Ghana News Agency