African Journal on Conflict Resolution vol. 15, no. 2, 2015
‘Towards a framework for resolving the justice and reconciliation question in Zimbabwe,’ proposes the reconstitution of ‘the political’ in Zimbabwe as a turning point towards a pursuit of healing and reconciliation mainly because a ‘paradigm of war’ exists as central Leitmotif of political practice. This article highlights the importance of engaging with the past and dealing with the legacies of the past because these seem directly to impinge on the current efforts to re-build the nation through a justice and reconciliation mechanism. In ‘The consequences of not healing: Evidence from the Gukurahundi violence in Zimbabwe’ between 1983 and 1987, an estimated 20 000 people from Matabeleland and parts of Midlands Province in Zimbabwe were killed by government forces in an operation code-named Gukurahundi. Since that time no official apology, justice, reparations or any form of healing process has been offered by the government which was responsible for these atrocities. Many people still suffer trauma from the events of this time. The present article focuses on the consequences of failing to heal, based on the experiences and attitudes of the participants. ‘Getting the past right in West Africa and beyond: Challenging structures through addressing gender-based violence in mediation’ offers insights on which issues should be taken into account regarding gender-based violence during mediation and suggests how the conflict context could be analysed from a perspective of gender and women when the mediation strategy is being defined. It also explores issues that have dominated the agenda of peacemaking in West Africa in particular and across the continent, and in other continents with similar processes – to provide real-world examples of peace and transitional processes where various lessons can be learnt about addressing or failing to address gender-based violence. ‘The International Criminal Court and conflict transformation in Uganda: Views from the field’ examines how the court’s involvement in the situation has impacted on conflict transformation in Uganda after ten years of judicial work. It also addresses the problem of assessing the impact of law on conflict through the use of an analytical framework that is based on four variables: deterrence, victims’ rights, reconciliation, and accountability to the law. Relying on this framework, and on a report of a field research project in Uganda, it argues that the ICC’s intervention has had multiple impacts on the situation in Uganda, and that despite some arguments to the contrary, the ICC does promote conflict transformation through deterrence, promotion of accountability to the law and promotion of victims’ rights.