The African Union Transitional Justice Policy: The Missing Sixth Pillar of the African Peace and Security Architecture

The adoption of the African Union Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP) in February 2019 was a momentous step on the part of the African Union (AU) in delivering on its mandate to end violent conflicts on the continent and ensure sustainable peace. The policy is a decisive move by the AU to use context-specific transitional justice (TJ) mechanisms to address nation-building and reconciliation in the aftermath of violence and mass atrocities on the continent. However, for the policy to gain an enduring foothold in Africa, it needs to become the guiding normative framework as the sixth legal pillar of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). This TJ pillar will thus work in conjunction with other vital AU organs at all levels. As part of this work, context-specific TJ processes will be disseminated to the various Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs) which will, in turn, inform and support country-specific proceedings. This encourages a feedback loop into the rest of the APSA pillars, such as knowledge-gathering by the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS), mediation by the Panel of the Wise (PoW), and decision-making by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) in terms of its overall mandate in this regard.