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South Africa

Provides a listing of articles on restorative justice developments in South Africa. Articles appear in the order in which they were added to the site with the most recent appearing first.

Gibson, James L.. "The Truth About Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa"
South Africa’s truth and reconciliation process is perhaps the best-known example of an institutionalized attempt to build a more democratic future by confronting human rights atrocities from the past. Yet the South African case is often quite misunderstood, with many misconceptions widely accepted and asserted. This article addresses five facts about the South African experience. Using data from a large national survey of ordinary people, it demonstrates both that the truth and reconciliation process is viewed as effective by most people and that in fact systematic evidence indicates that the process achieved several of its primary goals. From the South African case we learn that, despite their various shortcomings and compromises, truth processes can attain legitimacy among ordinary people in transitional systems and that they can contribute to societal reconciliation.
Gibson, James L.. The Contributions of Truth to Reconciliation:Lessons from South Africa.
The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is undoubtedly the most widely discussed truth and reconciliation process in the world, and by many accounts, the TRC is among the most effective any country has yet produced. What is the explanation for its success? This article has two objectives. First, it seeks to identify the characteristics of South Africa’s truth and reconciliation process that contributed to its performance. Second, it then asks whether the truth and reconciliation process is itself endogenous. Thus, the ultimate objective is to assess whether truth and reconciliation processes can have an independent influence on reconciliation and especially on the likelihood of consolidating an attempted democratic transition. The conclusion of this article is that the truth and reconciliation process in South Africa did indeed exert independent influence on the democratization process through its contributions toward creating a more reconciled society. (author's abstract)
Graybill, Lyn and Lanegran, Kimberly. Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation in Africa: Issues and Cases
This essay identifies a number of problematic issues concerning transitional justice and restorative justice in particular and suggests that they can be fruitfully explored through thoughtful examination of the truth-seeking projects of this issue's case countries: South Africa, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. One debate is whether political transitions genuinely require a unique type of justice or whether transitional justice results from a mere political choice which compromises justice. A second issue concerns transitional justice's goals. Related to this issue is the lack of clarity concerning the criteria for a successful transitional judicial structure. A third debate is whether truth commissions do actually bring healing and reconciliation among former enemies. Finally, there is a set of very practical concerns that need attention: what are the ideal balances between trials and truth commissions, domestic and international initiatives, efficiency and effectiveness? Authors' abstract.
Graybill, Lyn. Pursuit of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa
How do governments deal with human rights violations committed by former regimes? South Africa's solution has been the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), a carrot-and-stick approach that offers amnesty to those who come forward to disclose their deeds and the threat of criminal prosecution to those who do not. On the heels of an exceptional transition of power in which an entrenched ruling group relinquished control without imminent military threat, South Africa embarked on an equally unprecedented process of national reconciliation. Because the African National Congress (ANC) did not win a military battle but instead came to power through a negotiated settlement, compromises had to be made in order to win the National Party's support, to ensure democratic elections, and, above all, to promote peace. In the words of Kader Asmal, one of the key architects of the TRC who argued for a process that would not insist on criminal prosecutions, "We sacrifice justice for truth so as to consolidate democracy, to close the chapter of the past and to avoid confrontation." To acknowledge that the politics of compromise may be at odds with a strict notion of justicexe2x80x94what Reinhold Niebuhr called "perfect justice" is not to deny an ethical basis for the TRC. In assessing the TRC's success, one must ask: If not justice, what does the TRC offer? What follows is an assessment of the political, procedural, and ethical criticisms of the TRC. (excerpt)
Greenbaum, Bryant. Evaluation of the 2005 Ex-Combatants' Dialogues.
In 2004, CSVR's Ex-Combatants Reintegration and Restorative Justice Project successfully piloted eleven victim/ex-combatant dialogues that focused on past political violence in South Africa. The Project continued in 2005 with a revised focus on achieving community benefits and sustainability. Victim/victim discourses, ex-combatant/ex-combatant discourses, and dialogues on intergenerational conflicts and disappearance cases were undertaken in 2005. Furthermore, during this second pilot year some of the ex-combatants and survivors were trained as apprentice facilitators and thereafter directly assisted in dialogue preparations and in facilitating mediations. This report assesses whether the dialogues undertaken in the second year of the pilot ultimately assisted with the Project's key goals of community reconciliation and ex-combatant reintegration. It concludes that the dialogues were indeed beneficial as they taught individuals and communities new mediation and negotiation skills. In addition, with regard to promoting ex-combatant reintegration and victim empowerment, the Project also proved successful in terms of the valuable skills development of the apprentice facilitators. (author's abstract)
Gunn, Shirley. Reparations advocacy: The case of Khulumani Support Group
I was asked to share my insights on the topic Reparations Advocacy: The Case of Khulumani Support Group, drawing on my experience with Khulumani in the Western Cape (WC) over the past 11 years. In my paper I will track the organization from its humble beginning to the present. Some of the campaigns that I will deal with are national campaigns and others are regional initiatives. Both have interesting and important lessons for victims’ groups starting up or operating in African countries and elsewhere in the world. (excerpt)
Hansen, Pieter and Smit, Jeanette. An analysis of the legal mandate and role of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the implementation of restorative justice in South Africa
The objective of the paper is to investigate the legal mandate for the South African Police Service in the implementation of restorative justice within South Africa, as the South African Police Service Act does not make provision for the members of the police to become actively involved in restorative justice. The study has three aims: evaluating the legal mandate of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to implement restorative justice; determining the training, if any, that members of the SAPS receive in terms of restorative justice; evaluating the joint efforts of non-governmental organizations (NGO's) and the SAPS in implementing restorative justice. The study will conclude with possible recommendations on legislative interventions and recommendations to improve police training in implementing restorative justice in South Africa. Abstract courtesy of the Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University,
Hargovan, H.. Restorative Approaches to Justice: "Compulsory Compassion" or Victim Empowerment?
This article aims to expand the debate and consider critically the advantages and shortcomings of restorative justice in South Africa, especially in the case of intimate violence. While restorative justice has garnered a great deal of interest and support, it is subject to fundamental limitations; making it premature to expect policymakers or the public to accept it as the routine response to crime. Much has changed in the restorative justice movement over the past 20 years. While some jurisdictions have shown remarkable progress towards making restorative justice the principle response to crime, it still plays a marginal role in South Africa. It is clear that the implementation and strengthening of restorative justice practices in the criminal justice system has to go hand in hand with victim support and empowerment. Victim empowerment means providing victim support as soon as a crime is reported and focusing on the victim’s needs by emphasizing both the restorative processes and outcomes. A core value in restorative justice is to balance offender needs, victim needs, and the needs of the community. Critiques of wide scale implementation of restorative justice practices, both within and outside the criminal justice system, have highlighted the need to prioritize victims’ needs above all else. As South Africa moves closer towards translating restorative justice policy to practice the question that arises is: Do restorative justice practices really prioritize the needs of victims, or is it more a case of compulsory compassion; using victims to help reform and reintegrate offenders into society? The question of whether a shift from punitive to restorative justice would benefit victims is very complex. This article highlights the difficulties associated with applying restorative approaches in cases of intimate violence against women and children, and proposes that the primary focus should be on victim safety and not merely offense seriousness and willingness of the offender to participate.(Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,
Hargovan, H.. Restorative Justice: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow--Making Sense of Shifting Perspectives in Crime Control and Criminal Justice in South Africa.
Restorative justice is the term commonly applied to a variety of dispute-resolution practices that aim to achieve more desirable outcomes than conventional forms of punishment. It is not restricted to a particular form of program, but refers to any practice that has the following characteristics: an emphasis on the offender's personal accountability for the harms his/her crime has caused the victim and the community; an inclusive decisionmaking process that encourages participation by key parties in the dispute; and the goal of remedying the harm caused by the offense. RJ has been embraced in most Western states in one form or another. This development is closely linked to premodern, modernist, and postmodern perspectives on society's response to crime. Over the past decade, South Africa has initiated a surge of reforms through new legislation and policies, with a focus on vulnerable groups, mainly women and children. RJ is a long way from becoming the mainstream approach to justice in South Africa; however, it has attracted attention as part of the enthusiasm for reform. Although the influence of RJ is evident in government rhetoric, there is a lack of engagement with relevant stakeholders on how RJ may inform a more significant portion of justice system activity. There has been little effort to address the practical issues that must be confronted in the design and implementation of RJ concepts in specific program structures. Before this can occur, more research is required in analyzing the relevance of various RJ models and practices for South Africa. (abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,
Herwitz, Daniel. The Future of the Past in South Africa:On the Legacy of TRC
"VOLUME 5 OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN TRUTH AND RECONCIIIATION contains a list of all the victims of gross human rights violations whose names appeared in the commission's database at that time (August 30,1998).' The list is arranged in three columns and is nearly 100 pages long. It is a factual compendium, for the archive, in keeping with a crucial intention of the TRC: to gather evidence of atrocity in the name of the nation. It is also a memorial, not unlike the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. by Maya Lin, whose stark litany of the dead is a chronology of loss reduced to names and years. The list of the victims in the TRC report is not cast in the hard currency of cut masonry like Lin's memorial, but appears only as ink on paper. Nevertheless, when read as a memorial rather than a mere compilation of facts, and when read as a distillation of the powerful events of the commission, the report takes on an aura akin to that of Lin's memorial. This is in accord with the religious-biblical character of the TRC, a work of nation-building guided by three men of the cloth— the most famous of whom was Bishop Desmond T\itu who, dressed in his flaming crimson robes and speaking the homilies of divinity before the victims, sternly urged perpetrators to full disclosure and even confession. A report of five volumes whose Utopian gesture is to distill truth into reconciliation, suffering into forgiveness, historical strife into national identity, and word into divinity lends that book the aura of a thing of grace to be reverentially held in one's hands: a bible of contemporary times." (Excerpt)
Hewitt, Tom. A Question of Justice.
Tom Hewitt begins this essay by reflecting on his experiences as a peace monitor in 1994 in South Africa at the country's first free and fair elections. The day of the elections was the day the "new" South Africa was born. At the same time, it also was the beginning of a potentially difficult and even traumatic period in South African history. The elections promised the hope of justice for many black South Africans. For many white South Africans, the elections were fraught with anxiety and fear for the future. In this context, Hewitt asks, "How does justice come to a situation like this?" To answer, he focuses on two opposing interpretations of justice: retributive, and restorative. He does so to make a case for restorative justice as a more hopeful and ethical form of justice.
Horn, Riana and Coetzee, Ben. The Theft of Precious Metals from South African Mines and Refineries
This study is a further endeavour to expand on the knowledge and understanding of the criminal threat that faces the precious metals mining industry in South Africa. Several findings and recommendations were made during a previous study conducted by Peter Gastrow and his team in 2001. These recommendations were acted upon by the precious metals mining industry, and the systems subsequently developed were used to compile the latest report. In return, new suggestions and recommendations are made herein to further enhance the capability of the precious metals mining industry to manage the crimes perpetrated against it. (excerpt)
Howse, Robert and Llewellyn, Jennifer J.. "Institutions for restorative justice: The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission."
Proposes a different view of South Africa’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which challenges the conception of justice that underlies criminal trials. Limits of criminal trials; Support for restorative justice; Model of restorative justice in South Africa; Comparison with retributive justice; Strengths and weaknesses of the TRC.
Hubschle, Annette and Itzikowitz, Angela and Warutere, Peter and Gwintsa, Nomzi and Mthembu-Salter, Gregory and Goredema, Charles and Munyoro, Joseph. Money Laundering Experiences
This monograph not only examines recurrent trends in dealings with the proceeds of crime in East and Southern Africa. It goes further to probe the strengths and weaknesses of the critical agencies set up to check the abuse of the legitimate entry points to the economy in infusing such proceeds. The monograph comprises seven chapters. (excerpt)
InterMinisterial Committee on Young People at R. Legislative Proposals for Youth Justice: Family Group Conference
Point-by-point formal document (for the South African juvenile justice system) on how to conduct a Family Group Conference.
InterMinisterial Council on Young People at Risk. "Proposed Principles for a New Juvenile Justice System in South Africa."
Provides a listing of principles for a new paradigm of juvenile justice in South Africa are delineated.
Jafta, L D. Eco-Human Justice and Well-Being
This chapter sees an integral part of the reconciliation process in South Africa as economic empowerment of previously-disadvantaged inhabitants. The author ties the promotion of a South African economy rooted in environmental care (reaching back to early African respect for the earth( with a justice that respects human dignity and resists globalization as a subtle form of Western imperialism. In this way, South Africa will transcend the inequalities that characterized it politically and economically, enter the global market on its own two feet, and greatly advance the reconciliation process.
Jakopovich, Dan. A humanist defence and critique of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
In this essay, I will assess the South African TRC from a radical humanist, peace-building perspective. Instead of the usual approach which judges the TRC according to its success or failure to achieve the objectives of ―retributive justice,‖ I will look at the TRC's work from the perspective of humanistic ethics, of ―restorative‖—or, in fact, ―transformative justice‖—and its specific goals. In the course of this analysis, I will illustrate how relocating the ideological vantage point in this way leads to a creative new (and very marginalized) set of objectives and benchmarks. These are generally applicable not just to the work of the South African TRC, but to future truth and reconciliation initiatives as well.(Author's abstract)
Jenneker, Madeleine and Cartwright, John. Governing Security: A Working Model in South Africa - The Peace Committee.
The Community Peace Programme coordinates, facilitates and supports people engaged in re-imaging and transforming the way in which governance generally – and safety and security in particular – is accomplished. In doing so, it develops, reflects upon and makes available ways of doing, thinking and living that make innovations in governance possible. (excerpt)
Juvenile Justice Reforms Pending in South Africa
A bill fostering the inclusion of restorative justice principles and practices for juveniles is still awaiting parliamentary action in South Africa. Originally introduced in 2002, the Child Justice Bill would create a consistent system for responding to youth crime by consolidating current practices and legislation with international standards for the treatment of juvenile offenders.

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