By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
At a two-day validation workshop on the draft African Union Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP) in Lusaka, Zambia at the end of last month a way forward was created.
The workshop was organised by the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), African Union Commission (AUC), with support from the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR).
Following the African Union Specialized Technical Committee (AU-STC) on Justice and Legal Affair’s meeting on the draft Policy in 2015. The STC constituted a seventeen member Taskforce from the African Union Member States to further review and finalize the draft Policy document.
This validation workshop also brought together members of the Taskforce to among other things review and finalizes the draft Policy.
The members of the Taskforce that participated in the workshop were Algeria, Congo Republic, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Zambia.
The revised draft is meant to be adopted in May 2017 by the AU-STC on Justice and Legal Affairs.
And thereafter be transmitted to the relevant AU policy making organs for endorsement.
Ambassador Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Political Affairs, rin her remarks, represented by Dr. Khabele Matlosa, Director for Political Affairs welcomed members of the Task-Force to the meeting.
Dr. Matlosa, took participants down the historical lane. And how the journey on the Policy development started in 2009.
He alsonoted that the adoption of the Policy is long overdue and this underscores why the STC on Justice and Legal Affairs constituted the Task-Force to finalize the document.
Dr. Matlosa further requested the participants to maximally utilize the two days to finalize the document.
In conclusion, he thanked the people and the Government of the Republic of Zambia for hosting the meeting and wished all participants a successful meeting.
The Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) who thanked participants and the AUC for partnering and including civil society and other stakeholders in developing the draft AUTJP.
CSVR assured the Task-Force members that their expert inputs will help close the unidentified gaps in the draft Policy.
The overall goal of the meeting was to finalize the draft Policy for adoption by the AU Member States and make it a guiding framework in support of transitional justice programme in relevant AU Member States.
The core outcomes of the meeting are, the draft of the AUTJP to member of the Taskforce was further revised and refined; relevant components were proposed for inclusion in the draft prior to consideration by STC on Justice and Legal Affairs; ownership of the AUTJP by AU member states through the STC on Justice and Legal Affairs was agreed.