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Importance of Political Will in Post-conflict Justice and Reconciliation Process

Political will and support remain indispensable in post-conflict reconstruction justice and reconciliation processes. Without a strong political will and support, it is feared that the key motivation for creating the post-conflict justice and reconciliation processes may, in fact, be the opposite: “to silence pro-democratic voices, indoctrinate the population, and ultimately consolidate yet another undemocratic and repressive regime” (Buckley-Zistel et al. 2013: 6-8). There are numerous cases where governments have manipulated transitional justice initiatives to legitimize their rule. For instance, in Ethiopia’s so called ‘red terror trials’ transitional justice mechanisms ended at mere liberalization (Tiba 2007: 517; Harbeson 1998: 64). Similarly, transitional justice in Uzbekistan seems to have aimed at consolidating the regime’s repressive grip on power (Grodsky 2008: 288). The very repression that allowed Karimov to control the state and most of society created conditions that made transitional justice possible and even likely, in part, because Karimov had the need to blame his poor human rights record on something else, such as difficulties in overcoming structures put in place during the Soviet era (Grodsky 2008: 289). 

The narrative in Rwanda may not be very different, after all. For instance, Rwanda’s Ingando camps which were officially claimed to offer a venue for eradicating genocide ideology, are alleged to disseminate a one-sided picture of Rwandan history and indoctrinating its participants according to the RPF ideology (Mgbako 2005; Reyntjens 2004: 183-184). This questions the tenability of the perceived peace and stability, as well as post bellum assurance of non recurrence of violent conflicts. The RPF government has come under sharp criticism for alleged shielding of perpetrators of revenge killings targeting the Hutu in the wake of the genocide (Human Rights Watch, 2014). Whereas the killings perpetrated by the RPF cannot in any way be compared with the horrendous murders of the genocide, those who committed such killings should equally be brought to justice to ensure a balance in dealing with post genocide challenges. The government should be able to remain neutral and provide conducive political atmosphere that allows for justice across board. 

Importance of Political Will in Post-conflict Justice and Reconciliation Process Importance of Political Will in Post-conflict Justice and Reconciliation Process Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on May 12, 2016 Rating: 5

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