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Sudan: transitional justice is prerequisite during the current phase

The term "transitional justice" has recently been widely circulated to the extent that it became an integral part of any deliberations concerning post-conflict settlements. However, in spite of this wide circulation of the term, its meaning is still blurred for many, perhaps because the term is just a recent one whose applications are still being tried in various parts of the world.

According to the literature of the United Nations the concept of transitional justice indicates a variety of measures and means which aims to deal with a legacy of gross violations of human rights in communities experiencing radical transitions and changes, either because of the transition from war to peace, the transition from totalitarianism and tyranny to democracy, or the transition from a situation of external occupation to national sovereignty, as clearly indicated by the second part of the term (transitional), which demonstrates some form of adversity with (regular)  justice or rather justice in normal circumstances. Here lies the crux of the matter since justice as a value does not change, but it is the circumstances around it change imposing therefore a different trend in the course of its application. The essence of the idea of transitional justice is that periods of transition are characterized by particular challenges thereby rendering the application of justice, in the ordinary judicial sense, least effective. This requires special measures which suit those critical times to facilitate transition to a national reconciliation that will help mending cracks and fissures brought about by past, often brutal and grave, human rights violations. Transitional justice measures are not limited to judicial mechanisms (which focus more on perpetrators through tracing them) only, but add other non-judicial measures (focusing on victims through compensation, listening, and material and moral rehabilitation).

The changes and transformations witnessed recently in the Arab world through what came to be known as the Arab have brought to the fore the issue of transitional justice with unprecedented strength and intensity. In this regard, some important experiences such as that of the Kingdom of Morocco which used the Equity and Reconciliation Commission, in addition to the experience of truth and reconciliation in Rwanda. Perhaps the most powerful experience is South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, where all these experiences represent models towards which the attention of the world is directed seeking inspiration in their successes and avoiding their failures.

It goes without saying that the Arab interest is not isolated, as it is closely linked to an international interest reflected in the report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the rule of law and transitional justice in conflict and post-conflict societies which was submitted to the Security Council in 2004. The report contained an in-depth analysis of the concept of transitional justice and related concepts, warnin in clear terms against (importing foreign models). This issue in particular is the focus of special attention by the Geneva Institute for Human Rights, since GIHR has been consistently supporting the development of national capacity in all areas of human rights through the rehabilitation and training of national activists in the Arab and the Middle East region in an attempt to equip them with the necessart abilities and skills that would enable them to continue with work in the future, thereby minimizing the use of foreign/external models.

Moreover, the interaction of GIHR with the transformations taking place in the Arab region makes it imperative to pay special attention to the particular issue of transitional justice. In this respect, the Institute has launched this month a training project on the concept of transitional justice for the youth from Sudanese political parties, since Sudan is one of the countries that are currently experiencing major shifts in the aftermath of a long and devastating civil war that continued for more than twenty years, while many of its remaining territories, such as Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile, are still living in war. GIHR hopes that this project will help in the articulation of the Sudanese experience in transitional justice including a transitional justice bill which can be submitted to concerned authorities in the future for endorsement..

Through working on training civil society activists, including political parties, on the subject of transitional justice, GIHR achieves in the process part of the objectives enshrined in its statute. It hopes that what is being done will motivate other organizations to follow the footsteps of GIHR in adopting  the same approach, which responds to concrete needs as they arise in time and space, and fulfill human rights aspirations at each stage along the course of their development.

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