To Punish or to Reform? Survivor Justice in Africa

Conflict Trends, Issue 2, 2016

12 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2017

Date Written: August 16, 2016


In this article I argue that in contexts where a decisive military victory is untenable, survivor justice, that is political reform combined with judicial reconciliation, is the best way to resolve Africa’s intractable conflicts. First, I introduce and develop the conceptual framework of survivor justice. Second, I critique the universalisation of human rights discourse around justice. Third, I proceed to discuss survivor justice in peace agreements in the context of mass violence, and then the case of Rwanda and how it has implemented survivor justice in dealing with the aftermath of the 1994 genocide through indigenous institutions known as Gacaca.

Keywords: Survivor justice, negotiated settlements, Gacaca, Nuremberg Trials, transitional justice, human rights, political violence

Suggested Citation

Zambakari, Christopher, To Punish or to Reform? Survivor Justice in Africa (August 16, 2016). Conflict Trends, Issue 2, 2016, Available at SSRN:

Christopher Zambakari (Contact Author)

The Zambakari Advisory, LLC ( email )

P.O. Box 18691
Phoenix, AZ ARIZONA (AZ) 85005
United States
6026709326 (Phone)


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