Transitional Justice Issues

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Human rights violations and violent conflicts in the Niger Delta of Nigeria have elicited interests from scholars and international agencies. Although these studies provide significant insights into the conflicts in the Niger Delta, the issue of transitional justice has not been adequately addressed. Consequently, this article examines transitional justice mechanisms in the Niger Delta, gaps and prospects. The article begins with the conceptualization of human rights violation and transitional justice. It then makes an overview of the Niger Delta and the human rights situation in the area. Furthermore, the article discusses transitional justice mechanisms, gaps and prospects. The key conclusion of the article is that sustainable peace cannot…show more content…
The United Nations working definition of transitional justice states that it refers to “the full set of processes and mechanisms associated with a society’s attempts to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuse, in order to secure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation” (Annan, 2004:4). Roht-Arriaza (2006:2) also defines transitional justice as the “set of practices, mechanisms and concerns that arise following a period of conflict, civil strife or repression, and that are aimed directly at confronting and dealing with past violations of human rights and humanitarian law”. Additionally the International Centre for Transitional Justice (2010) defines transitional justice as “the set of judicial and non-judicial measures that have been implemented by different countries in order to redress the legacies of massive human rights abuses. These measures include criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, reparations programs, and various kinds of institutional reforms”. This definition encapsulates most of the components of transitional justice than other definitions. The Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (2009) identified four processes believed to constitute the core of transitional justice, even if there is disagreement about what each of them entails and the relationship that should exist between them. Usually, a transition encompasses a justice process, to bring perpetrators of mass atrocities to justice and to punish them for the crimes committed; a reparation process, to redress victims of atrocities for the harm suffered; a truth process, to fully investigate atrocities so that society discovers what happened during the repression/conflict, who committed the atrocities, and where the remains of the victims lie; and an institutional reform process, to ensure that such atrocities do not happen again (OHCHR, 2009: Sandoval-Villalba

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