Deploying transitional justice mechanisms as anti-corruption tools in Africa
This thesis advocates the expansion of the field of transitional justice to address corruption in African states emerging from conflict or authoritarianism. There is a close connection between corruption and conflict or repressive regimes in Africa. A good example is the Arab Spring of 2011, where citizens of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya protested against endemic corruption, leading to removal of despotic leaders from power. Dictators or conflicts tend to leave African states in situations where their coffers have been emptied corruptly and their citizens subjected to serious physical violence. What is more, corrupt and oppressive leaders use their ill-gotten assets to escape liability for their crimes. The evident link between the two forms of abuse makes it desirable to address them simultaneously when the dictatorship or conflict ends. Many African countries have deployed transitional justice mechanisms, such as criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, institutional reforms and reparations to address violations of civil and political rights. However, they have neglected corruption and other violations of social and economic rights, notwithstanding their crucial role in the violent past. Many countries still are haunted by the unresolved legacies of corruption and other socio-economic injustices. Recently, scholars and practitioners in the fields of transitional justice and anti-corruption have started to call for corruption and other socio-economic issues to be accommodated within transitional justice programmes. Problems encountered with the expansion of transitional justice mechanisms have not been worked out yet at the level of theory, policy and practice. This thesis subscribes to transformative justice theory as the most viable perspective from which to tackle corruption in transitional societies in Africa. Transformative justice theory is gaining increasing attention in the field of transitional justice, and it has been incorporated in the recent African Union Transitional Justice Policy. It champions locally driven mechanisms which reflect the needs of the victims and local communities, and which pursue socio-economic justice and transformation. The thesis argues that the current transitional justice mechanisms have the potential to become transformative and it will seek to answer how best each of these mechanisms may be implemented to address corruption. It is hoped that this thesis will assist in answering critical questions regarding the proximate relationship between corruption and violence, and in offering guidelines towards the total integration of an anti-corruption agenda into the field of transitional justice in Africa.
- Doctor Legum - LLD